Life

Jewish Photographer Hid These Photos From Nazis During WWII, And They’ll Break Your Heart

He took identification photos to survive but secretly captured other happenings in the Łódź ghetto...

Credit: Henryk Ross

One of the greatest atrocities to have shaken this Earth is undoubtedly the Holocaust, which took place between the years of 1933 and 1945. Approximately 11 million people were killed during this span of time, and it wasn’t just Jews who were marked. Nazis targeted Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the disabled. Anyone who resisted the fascist regime was either forced into labor or murdered.

Fortunately, Allied powers were able to defeat the Nazis in 1945. Unfortunately, it was too late for millions of people by the time help actually arrived. Those that survived went on to live their lives and many even used their experiences as fodder for novels, in a hope to educate future generations and prevent such atrocities from ever recurring.

One individual who is lesser-known for his activism is Jewish photographer Henryk Ross. A resident of Łódź, Poland, Ross used to work as a simple news and sports photographer before German forces invaded his city in 1939. The Jewish citizen was able to survive by taking identity photos and propaganda shots for the Nazi Department of Statistics. Now and again, however, he risked his life to secretly document the day-to-day happenings in the Łódź ghetto, reports Bored Panda. 

At the height of the Holocaust in 1944, he chose to bury a box of photographs in the ground to prevent himself from being incriminated as well as preserve the evidence for future generations. Approximately one year later, he reclaimed them from a tar-sealed box.

Many were destroyed or damaged by ground water, but some remained intact. Each provides an intimate look at how Polish Jews lived in the ghetto. Don’t forget, many of the people who appear in the images eventually met unspeakable ends.

The photographs can be found at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada, and serve to memorialize the victims of the world’s largest genocide.

#1 1940: A Man Who Saved The Torah From The Rubble Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street

Credit: Henryk Ross

#2 1940-1944: Portrait Of A Couple

Credit: Henryk Ross

#3 1940-1944: A Boy Searching For Food

Credit: Henryk Ross

#4 1940: A Man Walking In Winter In The Ruins Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street (Destroyed By Germans In 1939)

Credit: Henryk Ross

#5 1944: Food Pails And Dishes Left Behind By Ghetto Residents Who Had Been Deported To Death Camps

Credit: Henryk Ross

#6 1940-1942: Woman With Her Child (Ghetto Policemen’s Family)

Credit: Henryk Ross

#7 1940-1944: Young Girl

Credit: Henryk Ross

#8 1945: Henryk Ross’ Excavating His Hidden Box Of Negatives And Documents From The Lodz Ghetto

Credit: Henryk Ross

#9 1940-1944: Sign For Jewish Residential Area (“Jews. Entry Forbidden”)

Credit: Henryk Ross

#10 1940-1944: A Smiling Child

Credit: Henryk Ross

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