Photographic Images

The New Border

After their joint invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Germans and the Soviets established their new border along the route of the Bug and San Rivers. Those wishing to flee from one occupation regime to the other had to find a way to cross the new border.

The Bug River, near Małkinia Station, Poland

The Bug River, near Małkinia Station, Poland (author photo 2012)

The San River, near Sanok, Poland.

The San River, near Sanok, Poland (author photo 2017)

Graves in Central Asia

As a result of deportation and amnesty, or formal or informal evacuation, thousands of Ashkenazi Jews found themselves in Central Asia during the Second World War. Most survived. Of those who died of disease, starvation, or other causes, many were buried in unmarked mass graves. The headstones in these photos represent families that had the means to mark their loved ones’ burial places. All come from the Jewish cemetery in Almaty, Kazakhstan, although there are many other graves of exiled Ashkenazi Jews scattered throughout the region. A recent article points out that there are more Jewish graves than living Jews in much of the area, without noting that many of those buried in Central Asia were only passing through Today a Jewish organization is seeking to collect the names of all of the Jews buried in Almaty.

Keile Khasin, from Estonia, 1871-1942

Keile Khasin, from Estonia, 1871-1942 (author photo 2016)

Israel Litman, from Kiev, 1899-1943

Israel Litman, from Kiev, 1899-1943 (author photo 2016)

Icaak Bakman, from Radom, 1917-1942 (author photo 2016)

Icaak Bakman, from Radom, 1917-1942 (author photo 2016)

This stone is unusual in displaying four languages. The name of the deceased is in Hebrew, followed by a loving encomium in Yiddish. The name and place of birth are given in Russian in the center of the stone. A Polish epigraph then informs the reader that Bakman played the cello for the Warsaw philharmonic before the dates of his life are listed at the bottom.

Memorials

Monuments and memorials to the experience of deportation and death in the Soviet Union during the Second World War in Poland today present an ethnic Polish version of the events. Even when Jewish names or symbols are present, they are subsumed within a national Polish narrative that does not acknowledge their different perspective.

Wall display honoring Polish military personnel murdered in the Katyń Massacre in the church of the Parish of St. Agnes in Kraków, Poland

Wall display honoring Polish military personnel murdered in the Katyń Massacre in the church of the Parish of St. Agnes in Kraków, Poland (author photo 2018)

Close up of plaque dedicated to Rabbi Major Baruch Steinberg, Chief Rabbi of the Polish armed forces, church of the Parish of St. Agnes, Kraków, Poland

Close up of plaque dedicated to Rabbi Major Baruch Steinberg, Chief Rabbi of the Polish armed forces, church of the Parish of St. Agnes, Kraków, Poland (author photo 2018)

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, railroad ties displaying names of sites of Soviet oppression of Poles leading to deathcart

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, railroad ties displaying names of sites of Soviet oppression of Poles leading to deathcart (author photo 2015)

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from the back

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from the back (author photo 2015)

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from one side, showing the Polish eagle

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from one side, showing the Polish eagle (author photo 2015)

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from the other side, showing a Jewish tombstone

Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, Warsaw, Poland, view of the deathcart from the other side, showing a Jewish tombstone (author photo 2015)