Berkeley Talks


Scholars on Roman Vishniac's photos of Jewish life before the Holocaust

Ep. 141

In Berkeley Talks episode 141, a panel of scholars discuss the work of Roman Vishniac, a renowned Russian American photographer who took thousands of photos over seven decades and across three continents. Although Vishniac’s genres were diverse, he’s best known for images that he took of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

“These photographs are distinguished by their epiphenomena, the life circumstances of their subjects and the narratives that have surrounded these images,” said Jeffrey Shandler, professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, at a two-day event in May presented by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in collaboration with Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies. “Shortly after these photographs were taken, most of the Jews they depict met a terrible fate during World War II. Those few who survived the Holocaust had to start their lives over in radically different circumstances."

Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.

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Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

Photo of Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz by Roman Vishniac, Mukacevo, ca. 1937-38.

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