Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939

by Lucjan Dobroszycki

Other authorsBarbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Joint Author.)
Book, 1977



Call number

763 DOB



New York : Schocken Books, 1977.


"The Jews of Poland between the World Wars come alive in this photographic essay in all their diversities....One imagines that Polish Jewry would have wanted to be remembered thus -- looking out to the camera and the world beyond." -- Ruth R. Wisse "Reveals a vibrantly rich kaleidoscope of life using many great photographs, some known, others never seen before. A volume to read, to study, to treasure." -- Cornell Capa "Beautifully balanced to serve the fascinating truth of a civilization that vanished into the darkest folds of history....All this seems so distant and yet so familiar, for although they are gone, they are family, and it was just yesterday." -- Mark Helprin "A poignant and visually beautiful reconstitution of the varied, culturally rich, and endlessly fascinating lost world of Polish Jews. Reading it makes one glow with pride." -- Louis Begley "If you're Jewish and looking for your roots and the world of your grandfathers, this is the book for you. If you're not Jewish, but just curious, this book is for you....It can take you on a voyage into a world that vanished in the gas and smoke of the Holocaust." -- Lucy S. Dawidowicz "One of the most extraordinary photographic histories ever assembled....An entire people and culture, now gone from the face of the earth, comes forth from its pages with an animation and vitality so powerful that the tragedy of the end of Polish Jewry seems for a moment, miraculously suspended." -- Simon Schama From the Trade Paperback edition.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
This is a collection of photographs of Jewish life in Poland from photography's advent to the Second World War. While many of these photographs were saved by people fleeing the holocaust, the emphasis is not on the coming horror, but on the the daily life of ordinary Jewish people during the first
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half of the last century. There are many family portraits, as well as pictures of village and city life, giving a vibrant portrait of a time and place where a large minority population could live peacefully and were able to live in groups where they could live traditionally and practice their religion or to pursue modern lifestyles in cultural centers. Jewish theater and literature took off, with Yiddish newspapers and social clubs abundant in places like Warsaw.

What remains with me from the many photographs, is how the families, despite the different clothing and settings, look out at the photographers with the same pride and optimism that is visible in family portraits today. And also the enormous labor involved in keeping those white dresses and shirts clean and starched.
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