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[Requesting a loan in the offices of the local Gmiles Hesed (Free Loan Society), probably Warsaw]

Date ca. 1935-38 (printed 2012)
Dimensions Image: 12 x 11 3/16 in. (30.5 x 28.4 cm)
Print medium Photo-Digital-Inkjet

Jewish Free Loan Societies were supported by local and international relief organizations, particularly the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which focused the bulk of its efforts on Jewish communities in central and eastern Europe. In 1930s Poland, where many of the largest Free Loan Societies were concentrated, small loans were often used to purchase equipment and goods for Jewish merchants and artisans to help maintain their livelihood during Poland’s antisemitic boycotts. The JDC published brochures, annual reports, and newsletters about the Free Loan Societies, updating funders on the demographics of those being helped each year. Vishniac, whose images illustrated several of the JDC reports, photographed a Free Loan Society office in Warsaw, one of 1,200 that had been established by the JDC in Poland.


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

International Center of Photography

Feedback Accession No. 2012.80.8