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On the Death of Jews
Photographs and History
Translated from the French by Sarah Clift
With a Foreword by Dorota Glowacka
138 pages, 15 illus., bibliog.
ISBN 978-1-78920-881-8 $145.00/£107.00 Hb Published (March 2021)
ISBN 978-1-78920-924-2 $24.95/£19.95 Pb Published (March 2021)
eISBN 978-1-78920-882-5 eBook
Praise for the French and Polish editions:
“A great and shattering book.” • Jan T. Gross
“Emotion, sensitivity, and suffering are not the enemies of precision or historical rigor and can sometimes make it more substantial, even more accurate. This is what Nadine Fresco manages to do with strength and brilliance, through a steady effort of writing, in this moving book.” • Politis
“A meticulous and shattering investigation of eight horrific pictures, in which the progressive revelation of the truth is reminiscent of Daniel Mendelssohn’s The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million.” • L’Arche
“Around the pain, the anguish, the astonishment, the shame, the refusal to see, Nadine Fresco, with all her resources as a historian, delicately undertakes to build a shelter made of arguments, research on facts, deeds, and words. She envelops the horror while revealing it, and she shelters past sufferings as well as the one she awakens in the reader.” • La Quinzaine littéraire
“Fresco skillfully guides us from the flat surface of photography to the depths of the victims’ experience—their humiliation, loneliness, suffering, and death. A fascinating essay about the cognitive, aesthetic, and moral dilemmas of the photographic representation of the Holocaust.” • Jacek Leociak
In December 1941, on a shore near the Latvian city of Liepaja, Nazi death squads (the Einsatzgruppen) and local collaborators murdered in three days more than 2,700 Jews. The majority were women and children, most men having already been shot during the summer. The perpetrators took pictures of the December killings. These pictures are among the rare photographs from the first period of the extermination, during which over 800 000 Jews from the Baltic to the Black Sea were shot to death. By showing the importance of photography in understanding persecution, Nadine Fresco offers a powerful meditation on these images while confronting the essential questions of testimony and guilt.
Nadine Fresco is a French historian and an honorary researcher at the National Center for Scholarly Research in Paris. She is the author of Fabrication d’un antisémite (1999), and La Mort des juifs (2008), a collection of texts in which On the Death of Jews: Photographs and History first appeared. She is co-editor of the scholarly journal Le Genre humain and co-editor, with Martine Leibovici, of Anne-Lise Stern’s Le Savoir-déporté. Camps, histoire, psychanalyse (2004).