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People behind bars, Berlin Zoo

Date early 1930s (printed 2012)
Location Berlin Germany
Dimensions Image: 12 x 11 3/8 in. (30.5 x 28.9 cm)
Print medium Photo-Digital-Inkjet

The oldest and most renowned zoo in Germany, the Zoologische Garten was a popular gathering place for Berlin’s middle- and upper-class Jewish community before World War II. Many affluent Jewish families, including the Vishniacs, were shareholders. Beginning in 1933, the zoo began to force out Jewish board members. In 1938, a sign reading “Juden unerwünscht” (Jews Unwanted) was displayed at the entrance to the zoo and in early 1939 Jews were denied entry entirely. In Vishniac’s photograph of the zoo’s famous polar bears, it appears that the visitors, and not the animals, are in a cage.


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

International Center of Photography

Feedback Accession No. 2012.79.15