Yevgeny Khaldei, Red Army photographer 1941-1946  17 March 2005

On Thursday 17 March Gerrit Jan Wolffensperger, chairman of World Press Photo, will open the exhibition Yevgeny Khaldei, Red Army photographer 1941-1946. During the Second World War Khaldei was one of the Soviet Union's most important photojournalists. The photograph he staged on 2 May 1945 of a Soviet soldier placing the Red flag atop the Reichstag building in Berlin is world famous. It has become a symbol of the end of the war and of the defeat of the Nazis. Sixty years later the Jewish Historical Museum is showing Khaldei's famous icons of the war and the liberation.

When the Soviet Union entered the Second World War, Yevgeny Khaldei (1917-1997) accompanied the Red Army to the front as a photographer. He followed them to Hungary, Austria and Germany, where he witnessed the liberation of Berlin. After the war he documented the Potsdam Conference, where the Big Three (Stalin, Churchill and Truman) drew up Germany's post-war boundaries. In 1945 and 1946 he photographed the Nuremberg Trial of the Nazi war criminals.

Khaldei's work is remarkable for its combination of documentary and artistic photography and emphasises the tragic and absurd aspects of the Second World War. His commentary accompanying many of his photographs is proof of his commitment to his subjects, but also of his sense of humour. He occasionally staged or retouched his photographs in order to add power to a particular event.

Born into a Jewish family in the Ukraine in 1917, at the age of nineteen Khaldei became a photographer with the official Soviet press agency TASS. For decades he enjoyed the admiration of the highest political circles and was even allowed to portray Stalin. Nonetheless, for six years during the latter's regime he lost his job because of his Jewish background. In 1972 State anti-Semitism forced him into retirement. He became internationally renowned only with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The JHM has assembled an extensive selection of Khaldei's work from the collection of the Voller Ernst Photo Agency in Berlin. Khaldei's own texts serve as the captions for the photographs and are also reproduced in the publication Von Moskau nach Berlin: Jewgeni Khaldei (Berlin 1999 - German/English), which accompanies the exhibition.

To celebrate 6o years of liberation, the Hollandsche Schouwburg is presenting Captured Faces. This slide show features the German officer Max Kirnberger's photographs of four Polish ghettos (1940-1942) and those of various photographers depicting Jewish life in the Netherlands during the Nazi persecution. Starts 22 April. For more information: www.hollandscheschouwburg.nl.

From 22 April - 29 May 2005, in association with the JHM, FOAM is hosting the exhibition Henryk Ross: Lodz Ghetto Album.

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