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Ivanhorod einsatzgruppen photograph

The meaning of «ivanhorod einsatzgruppen photograph»

The Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph is an image of the Holocaust, showing a soldier aiming a rifle at a woman who is trying to shield a child with her body. It depicts the murder of Jews by an Einsatzgruppen death squad near Ivanhorod, Ukraine, in 1942. The photograph was mailed, intercepted by the Polish resistance in Warsaw, and kept by Jerzy Tomaszewski. In the 1960s, it was alleged that the image was a Communist forgery, but that claim was eventually falsified. Since then, the photograph has been frequently used in books, museums, and exhibitions relating to the Holocaust. Photograph historian Janina Struk describes it as "a symbol of the barbarity of the Nazi regime and their industrial scale murder of 6 million European Jews."[1]

During the Holocaust, more than a million Jews were murdered in Ukraine. Most of them were shot in mass executions by Einsatzgruppen (death squads) and Ukrainian collaborators.[2] In 1897, the Russian Empire Census found that there were 442 Jews (out of a population of 3,032) living in Ivanhorod, a village today in the Cherkasy Oblast, central Ukraine.[3][4] In 1942, a mass shooting by Einsatzgruppen south of the town killed an unknown number of victims. Part of the massacre is depicted in this photograph. After the war, the execution site was used as a field of a collective farm.[4]

There are six victims in the photograph. The body lying at the feet of the German soldier appears to be a woman who was already shot. In the center of the photograph is a woman who appears to be shielding a child. One of her feet is raised as if she is trying to flee, or else the photograph was taken just after she was shot. To her right are three men. Only one soldier is fully visible in the picture; he appears to be aiming at the men. Rifles held by German soldiers off the left edge of the photograph are visible and point at the woman and child. The shadows at the left edge of the photograph suggest that more German soldiers may be present. A wooden stake and a shovel are visible on the right side of the photo, indicating that the victims may have been forced to dig their own graves.[5][6]: 77 [7]

The identity of the photographer is unknown, but he was probably a German soldier. Many German soldiers photographed atrocities in which they were complicit.[5][6]: 77 

The Polish resistance infiltrated the postal office in Warsaw in order to intercept sensitive correspondence, which they sent to the Polish government-in-exile in London.[5] Poles and Jews were forbidden to own cameras, but the Polish resistance established underground workshops for developing clandestine photographs of Nazi atrocities.[6]: 78–79  A teenage boy named Jerzy Tomaszewski worked with an underground lab called "Foto-Rys",[8] and he intercepted a photograph with the words "Ukraine 1942, Judenaktion [Jewish Action], Iwangorod [Ivanhorod]" written on the reverse. He kept the original, which remains in his personal archive; a copy was sent to the government-in-exile in London.[5][6]: 81 

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