In a rare Holocaust photo exhibit running now, you will be able to view the photos of late Henryk Ross, who risked his life to capture in film the many horrors experienced in the Lodz ghetto. Ross buried his negatives and recovered them later after surviving the Holocaust. Now, they will be on display until July 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, in a first ever showing in the United States.
Ross, who died in 1991, had been a professional photojournalist before the Nazi occupation of Poland. He was one of two Jews in the ghetto, along with Mendel Grossman, who took official photographs for the Statistics Department of the Judenrat, the Jewish Council, set up under Nazi rule.
Ross’s official duties required him to take identification photographs of ghetto residents as well as photographs of the factories. These images were used as propaganda to promote the productivity of the ghetto’s slave labor workforce.
But at great risk to his own life, Ross ventured beyond his official duties. Often accompanied by his wife, Stefania, he clandestinely took thousands of additional photographs.
He captured images of the full range of daily life in the ghetto: some, devastating and heartbreaking scenes of hunger, death, squalor and deportation lines; others, of children learning to knit and a touching portrait of a ghetto police officer’s wife and baby.