Vox Tablet

Eastern Exposure

David Shneer’s new book on Soviet Jewish photographers and the pictures they took offers a new perspective on 20th-century history, from the Russian Revolution to the Holocaust

January 17, 2011
Emmanuel Evzerikhim, "Filmmaker, in Stalingrad," 1942.(Courtesy of Emmanuel Evzerikhim and the Fotosoyuz Agency)

Emmanuel Evzerikhim, “Filmmaker, in Stalingrad,” 1942.(Courtesy of Emmanuel Evzerikhim and the Fotosoyuz Agency)

Georgii Zelma, Semyon Fridlyand, and Evgenii Khaldei aren’t among the best-known 20th-century Jewish photographers—those would be men like Roman Vishniac and Robert Capa—but their work is equally important. They’re some of the Soviet Jewish photographers who documented life on the far side of the Iron Curtain, shooting haunting images of Soviet industrialization, of the creation of the Birobidzhan, the Jewish autonomous region established by the late 1920s, and of the Holocaust. Historian Shneer examines their work, and that of other Soviet Jewish photographers, in his new book, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust. Shneer, who directs the Jewish studies program at the University of Colorado, spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about this new view on early-20th century European history and how it reshapes our perception of Jewish life then. [Running time: 26:55.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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