Canadian Premiere of The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1944

Publication Date


Document Type

News Article


Canadian Premiere of The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1944

TORONTO, February 25, 2013 – The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University are hosting the only exhibition in Canada of photographs taken by Jewish photographers in the Lodz Ghetto between 1940 and 1944.

The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1944, which features approximately 50 large-scale photographs, will be on display from Sunday, February 24 through Sunday, March 17, 2013 in the Library of Osgoode Hall Law School, which is located on the campus of York University at 4700 Keele Street in Toronto. (See building 32 on map.) Hours are Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A series of free public lectures, films and panel discussions on issues related to Lodz, the Holocaust more broadly, as well as photography and art as a vehicle for testimony and resistance, are planned in conjunction with the exhibition. Lodz was the occupied Polish city where the Nazis established the second largest ghetto for Jews during World War II and where tens of thousands of people died as a result of abominable conditions and a deliberate policy of genocide.

The opening lecture of the exhibition will be given on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4 p.m. in the Moot Court Room at Osgoode Hall Law School by Jan. T. Gross, a Professor of History at Princeton University and author of several books including Neighbors, Fear, Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz. His talk is entitled “On the Periphery of the Holocaust – Pillage and Killings of Jews by Their Neighbors.”

Sara R. Horowitz, Director of the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, which was instrumental in bringing the exhibition to York University, says The Face of the Ghetto is drawn from the nearly 12,000 contact prints currently held in the Lodz state archive and includes excerpts from the Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto and statements by former Ghetto residents.

The Jews in the Lodz Ghetto were prohibited from possessing cameras, Horowitz explains. However, a small number of Jewish photographers were given cameras and commissioned to document the efficiency of the Ghetto factories and other sites of slave labour. At their own initiative and at personal risk, the photographers took thousands of photographs of Jewish life in the Ghetto. “Unlike photographs taken by Nazi photographers, the photographs in this exhibition were taken by photographers who shared the fate of the people they photographed,” Horowitz says. “The photographs reflect a deep empathy, and a sense of the efforts of the Ghetto inhabitants to maintain their dignity and culture in face of an unspeakably harsh and increasingly helpless situation.”

Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Lorne Sossin says that "Osgoode is incredibly proud to be hosting this important exhibition.”

The exhibition in Toronto is sponsored by the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University; The Azrieli Foundation; and The Mark and Gail Appel Program in Holocaust and Antiracism Education – Learning from the Past, Teaching for the Future; and is hosted by Osgoode Hall Law School. The exhibition is curated and provided by the Topography of Terror Foundation (Stiftung Topgraphie des Terrors), Berlin, and is supported by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Face of the Ghetto was first shown in North America at the United Nations in New York City from January to March 2012 and then toured to several other American venues. The Toronto exhibition is its only showing in Canada.

For further information about the exhibition, please contact the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at cjs@yorku.ca or 416-736-5823, or visit their website at www.yorku.ca/cjs.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact: Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca