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[First-year student nurses, including several Holocaust survivors, in a classroom, Beth Israel School of Nursing, Lower East Side, New York]

Date ca. 1949
Location New York Manhattan New York United States
Dimensions Image: 8 x 9 7/8 in. (20.3 x 25.1 cm)
Paper: 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Beth Israel Hospital, a charter member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (FJP), was founded in 1890 on the Lower East Side. In the late 1940s, Vishniac was commissioned by the FJP to document the work and achievements of various Jewish hospitals. Many of the Jewish nurses he photographed were Holocaust survivors and refugees, recent immigrants working to establish new lives in New York.
Ruth Weiss-Merdinger (bottom row, second from left) was born in Poland in 1927 to a prosperous family; her physician father was later the chief doctor of a Jewish ghetto, and her mother was a nurse in the ghetto and later at Auschwitz. Weiss-Merdinger survived the Holocaust and immigrated to the U.S. in 1947. She enrolled at the Beth Israel School of Nursing in 1948, funded by a scholarship from the National Council of Jewish Women, and went on to become a nursing instructor.


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn, 2013

Feedback Accession No. 1992.795