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Norwich School Blog

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 - Be the light in the darkness: Part 2

In this blog, we look at the second story that pupils will hear tomorrow on Holocaust Memorial Day. Continuing the theme of 'be the light in the darkness' we look at the story of Photographer, Mendel Grossman. 

Mendel Grossman

This is a photograph of a Jewish photographer, Mendel Grossman, in his laboratory in Lodz Ghetto, Poland.

Jews were forbidden from taking photos in the ghettos, however, Mendel got a job working for the ghetto’s Statistics Department taking photographs for identity cards. This gave him access to a camera and photographic equipment. Throughout 1940-1944, Mendel secretly photographed everyday life in the ghetto, risking his life to capture the awful conditions there.

To avoid capture, he hid his camera in the lining of his coat pockets, opening his coat slightly to take the pictures. Mendel and his friends hid thousands of photographs in different locations in the ghetto. After the war, Mendel’s friends and his sister Rozka were able to retrieve many of the photographs and take them to Israel.

Pupils will be discussing issues around: Why are photographs like Mendel’s so important to the study of the Holocaust? How is Mendel Grossman’s story an example of being the ‘Light in the Darkness’?