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[Grandmother and grandchildren in basement dwelling, Krochmalna Street, Warsaw]

Date ca. 1935-38
Location Warsaw Poland
Dimensions Image: 12 9/16 x 10 13/16 in. (31.9 x 27.5 cm)
Paper: 13 15/16 x 10 15/16 in. (35.4 x 27.8 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Vishniac documented urban poverty in Warsaw, often focusing on the dark, cold basement dwellings of families where hungry Jewish children lived in crowded conditions. Vishniac photographed this woman taking care of her grandchildren while their parents searched for work in one of 26 basement compartments, each inhabited by a large family. In June 1941, the National Jewish Monthly published this image with the caption “Polish Jewry, once the bulwark of world Jewry, is done for as a community. Even if Hitler were to lose power tomorrow, their institutions and organizations are hopelessly smashed, could not be rebuilt in generations. But individuals remain, starved and persecuted. This picture shows an old grandmother and her grandchildren. What is going to become of them, and of the millions of other innocent victims of Fascist violence and terror?”


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn, 2013

Feedback Accession No. MVK.224.2008