Mendel Grossman

Mendel Grossman

Mendel Grossman was born in Lodz in 1917. After the occupation of Poland by the German Army in September 1939, he joined the underground in the town.

Forced to live in the Lodz ghetto he used his position in the statistics department to obtain the material needed to take photographs. By hiding his camera in his raincoat, Grossman was able to take secret photographs of scenes in the ghetto.

Grossman continued to take photographs after he was deported to the Konigs Wusterhausen labour camp. Mendel Grossman died while in the camp in 1945. After the war his hidden negatives were discovered and his work was published in the book, With a Camera in the Ghetto (1977).


Mendel Grossman

Come per Henryk Ross anche Mendel Grossman fu costretto a vivere e a fotografare nel Ghetto di Łódź. Anche a lui fu imposto di realizzare immagini per i documenti di riconoscimento degli ebrei, dei deceduti e di documentare la bella vita che la gente conduceva nel ghetto. Ma anche lui, come Ross, fotografò le condizioni reali degli ebrei.

Mordka Mendel Grossman nacque da Szmul Dawid Grossman e Haya, una famiglia ebrea chassidica. Dopo la prima guerra mondiale la sua famiglia si stabilì a Łódź. Da bambino iniziò a disegnare ritratti, più tardi incontrò la fotografia, usando anche vernici all'anilina per colorare le foto. Diventato fotografo professionista si avvicinò al teatro, riprendendo scene, attori e attrici, tra cui l'allora famoso Teatro Habimah in tour, poco prima della guerra, che fece tappa anche a Łódź [1] . Nel 1939, con l'arrivo dei nazisti che occuparono la città e la creazione del ghetto, anche Grossman e la sua famiglia furono internati. Il Ghetto di Łódź fu creato nell'area più industrializzata ma anche la più malsana, dove non esisteva un sistema fognario e neanche il riscaldamento e dove perfino l'acqua era razionata, 4 chilometri quadrati circondati da filo spinato, sorvegliato dalle SS. Grazie alla sua professione gli fu imposto di fotografare. Il Consiglio ebraico nel Dipartimento di Statistica (Judenrat), autorità sottoposta e controllata dai tedeschi, pensava che se fossero state diffuse immagini dell'impegno degli ebrei nel lavoro, altresì durissimo che li teneva impegnati 12 ore al giorno per fabbricare uniformi e materassi per la Wehrmacht e da clienti tedeschi, sarebbero stati trattati meglio dai nazisti [2] .

Grossman, che fu internato dal 1940 al 1945, riprese la condizione di vita degli ebrei, fotografò le esecuzioni sommarie, i treni super affollati che trasportavano la gente nel campo di sterminio di Chełmno, i bambini nei carri, anche loro destinati nei campi di concentramento come i vecchi, donne che morivano di fame nei marciapiedi. Fu probabilmente l'attenzione alla sua famiglia che fu e resta uno degli aspetti più toccanti: egli li fotografò negli anni di prigionia nel ghetto, i suoi genitori, le due sorelle ed il nipotino Yankush. Grossman li fotografò mentre facevano file interminabili alla distribuzione del cibo, a mangiare sotto le coperte a causa del freddo intenso, li vide morire ad uno ad uno per la fame, il freddo e lo sfinimento [3] .

Alla fine del 1944 il destino dei nazisti era segnato grazie all'avanzata dell'Armata Rossa ed i tedeschi volevano cancellare le testimonianze dei loro crimini, per questo trasferirono quanti più ebrei verso i campi di sterminio, lasciando dietro di loro il meno possibile, bruciando e devastando i ghetti, scritti e fotografie. Grossman, presagendo l'ineluttabile, decise di nascondere i negativi sotto il davanzale della finestra della sua casa, grazie all'aiuto dei suoi amici. Aveva nascosto in barattoli, a loro volta chiusi in una scatola, oltre 10.000 negativi [4] .

Deportato in un campo di lavoro a Königs Wusterhausen, vi rimase fino al 16 aprile 1945. Ormai malato e fortemente denutrito, fu ucciso dai nazisti durante una marcia della morte forzata, ma ancora con la sua macchina fotografica [5] . Aveva 32 anni. Dopo la fine della guerra i negativi furono ritrovati da Fajge, sorella di Mendel, che li portò in Israele, dove furono collocati nel kibbutz Nitzanim. Durante la guerra di indipendenza del 1948 il kibbutz fu conquistato dagli egiziani e i negativi furono distrutti, Grazie alle molte immagini che Grossman aveva dato agli amici è stato possibile ricostruirne la storia [2] .


An Homage to Mendel Grossman

Łódź: site of the first of the large ghettos established in German-occupied Poland. The ghetto is established in February 1940 and sealed on May 1, 1940 with 160,000 inmates enclosed in an area of 1.5 square miles. Its location is Bałuty, in the northern section of the city, the district with the city’s poorest housing and sanitation. The ghetto’s population increases by many tens of thousands in the next two years, receiving Jews from the surrounding areas and also from Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Czechoslovakia. Some 100 factories are established, mostly producing textiles for the German war effort. The head of the Jewish Council in the ghetto, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, believes that Jews’ best chance of survival is to make the ghetto as productive as possible, and though he is wrong in thinking that cheap Jewish labor can be made more valuable to the Nazis than Jewish death, the ghetto does survive longer than any other.

Life in the ghetto is horrendous, and death from hunger and disease is rampant, claiming some 50,000 lives in the ghetto’s first two years. Deportations to the death camp at Chełmno begin in the winter of 1942, and continue until the fall of that year, totaling some 70,000 Jews, and 5,000 Roma who are also confined in the ghetto. In the spring of 1944, the Germans begin to destroy the ghetto, sending approximately 70,000 Jews to Chełmno, and others to Auschwitz-Birkenau (including Rumkowski). In the winter of 1944, some Jews in the ghetto are sent west on death marches into Germany. When the Soviet army enters Łódź on January 19, 1945, they find only 877 Jews still alive. Of the 223,000 Jews in Łódź before the invasion, only 10,000 survive the war in hiding in other places.

And Łódź: a Polish city Germanized and Nazified like no other city in Europe. The Polish population (396,000 in 1940) is kept under constant surveillance, terror and threat of expulsions. The no-man's land that arises between the ghetto and the rest of the city is brutally effective, cutting off virtually all contact between the ghetto and the outside world. Indeed, there is no record of any Jewish family or individual surviving on the Aryan side of the city of Łódź.

Into this world, enter Mendel Grossman, born in 1913 into a Chasidic family, spending his childhood in Łódź, attending yeshiva and then leaving the straight and narrow path. In his twenties he becomes a photographer, a painter, and becomes knowledgable about literature, theater, and the arts. Before the war he photographs the theater––where he is interested in expression, light and drama--and in the streets of Łódź, including a commission to photograph poor Jewish street children. Confined to the ghetto with his family, he wrangles a job as a photographer for the Department of Statistics in the ghetto, making images of products made in the ghetto and identification photographs for work permits. This job serves as the cover for his real purposes––to photograph all aspects of life in the ghetto using the film and paper in the department’s supply. He becomes a visual diarist, one of many ghetto diarists, most famously Emanuel Ringelblum in the Warsaw ghetto. Leveraging an official purpose for the sake of a personal one, Grossman spends his time in the streets and alleys, in homes, soup kitchens, workshops and the cemetery, orphanages, hospitals. He photographs children bloated with hunger, and the living “death notices,” as the near dead are called.

He photographs convoys of men and women condemned to death at Chełmno and later Auschwitz-Birkenau, and public executions. He photographs the everyday labors of the ghetto—the factory work and the self-help work, all manner of organizing, record-keeping, and shit-hauling. He photographs the activities of the ghetto that make life purposeful—schools, music, worship. And he photographs everything having to do with food: the ration cards, the distribution systems, the soup kitchens, the thousand ways that hungry people eat. He photographs families and children and the elderly, and he photographs the ghetto's institutions, particularly its potentates and their coteries, and their shameful way of living that mocks the suffering of the starving population. He photographs the corpses in the ghetto's morgue, and he photographs his captors––the troop movements of the Germans themselves. With a bad heart, he climbs electric power posts, walks rooftops, and scales the steeple of a church in the ghetto. He photographs the inscriptions on the walls and doors of the abandoned houses of the deported, no matter how illegible, to help in deciphering their names.

He is trailed by the Gestapo and by the ghetto’s Jewish police. In December 1941, Rumkowski writes to Grossman, “I inform you herewith that you are not allowed to work in your profession for private purposes….Your photographic work is confined only to the activity in the department in which you are employed.” Grossman’s response is to learn to photograph with his camera hidden beneath his coat, working the camera through holes cut in his pockets. He learns to turn his body in the direction he wants, slightly part the coat, and click the shutter. He makes an art of strategically hanging around, anticipating things. His courage is astonishing. At one point, a Viennese Jew condemned to deportation succeeds in escaping through the barbed wire, only to reach the railway station, pull out his handkerchief and have the yellow patch fall out of his pocket. He is arrested, and the inhabitants of the ghetto are ordered to congregate to witness his execution. Grossman photographs the event, but is unsatisfied because the photograph is not close enough. After a few days another execution takes place, and Grossman does not assume a protected position, rather stands in the front row of the crowd, directly behind a German policeman. During the execution the silence of the crowd is so absolute, so tense, that when Grossman clicks the shutter, a German policeman turns his head.

During the massive deportations of 1942, the German Criminal Police and the Jewish Police go from home to home selecting Jews for death. Resistors are killed immediately and their bodies are thrown into the streets and into heaps in the cemetery, while those selected for death are held in the hospitals. Defying a strict curfew, Grossman attaches himself to the gravediggers and laborers ordered to transport and bury the dead. He photographs the faces of those who die en route to the ghetto, before their deposit into mass graves, and also those waiting to be buried whose chests are marked with numbers which later appear on graves: the gravediggers lift the head of each body quickly for Grossman to make an identification photograph. He likewise photographs the deportation convoys of 1943 obsessively, putting himself in great danger, particularly at the railroad station where the German police are pushing Jews onto trains.

Between 1940-1944 Grossman makes over 10,000 photographs, gives away some large unknown number to people who ask for them, and in the summer of 1944 hides a complete annotated archive of his work in tin cans stacked into a wooden crate. He places his archive in a cleared-out hollow in the wall underneath the windowsill in his apartment. Grossman is deported on one of the last trains leaving the ghetto. After his deportation, the Gestapo finds some of his prints in abandoned flats, and looks in vain for him in the ghetto. Alone, separated from his family and friends, he arrives in a work camp in Germany. The camp is evacuated several days before the German surrender, and Grossman, aged 32, collapses from a heart attack during the death march. I like to imagine his camera is still with him in the snowbank where he dies.

In perhaps the greatest tragedy—after the war his sister recovers the negatives from their hiding place and sent them to Kibbutz Nitzanim in the south of Israel, where they are lost in the Israeli war of Independence. Grossman's close friend, Nachman Zonabend, remains in the ghetto until liberation, and succeeds in saving the archives of the Judenrat and some of Grossman's photographs, concealing them at the bottom of a well.

If history, as Ulrich Keller notes, generally means continuity in change, the history of European Jews is different. All other countries and peoples ravaged by the Second World War eventually returned to a normal existence, but the annihilation of six million Jews in the Holocaust completely devastated the thousand year civilization of Ashkenazic Jewry, and destroyed that continuity. And if memory mostly points at that rupture, not really entering it, occasionally it happens––as in the life’s work of Mendel Grossman––that memory takes the inner shape of the rupture-in-process, toward a dialogue with an imagined outside world, the world of future generations, we ourselves.

And me, I cannot write my homage to Mendel Grossman, rather I can only make pictures, and braid them together––black and white pictures made in the former ghetto in Łódź, where I have returned several times in the last years, and portraits of people, strangers, made in many locations in that city, his city. I cannot write the homage I want, cannot conjure Grossman in words in such a way that I see him in passing, clip him on his arm before he flits away. In words, everything about my approach is too direct––I am not enough of a novelist, or a poet. But in a sequence of pictures––one that manages to fly and to crash at the same time––there I might find Grossman, just maybe.


Contents

Born Iosif Solomonovich Grossman in Berdychiv, Ukraine, Russian Empire into an emancipated Jewish family, he did not receive a traditional Jewish education. His father Semyon Osipovich Grossman was a chemical engineer, and his mother Yekaterina Savelievna was a teacher of French. [1] A Russian nanny turned his name Yossya into Russian Vasya (a diminutive of Vasily), which was accepted by the whole family. His father had social-democratic convictions and joined the Mensheviks, and was active in the 1905 Revolution he helped organise events in Sevastopol. [2] From 1910 to 1912, he lived with his mother in Geneva after his parents had separated. [1] After returning to Berdychiv in 1912, he moved to Kiev in 1914 where, while living with his father, he attended secondary school and later the Kiev Higher Institute of Soviet Education. [2] Young Vasily Grossman idealistically supported the hope of the Russian Revolution of 1917. [2]

In January 1928, Grossman married Anna Petrovna Matsuk their daughter, named Yekaterina after Grossman's mother, was born two years later. [2] When he had to move to Moscow, she refused to leave her job in Kiev, but in any case, she could not get a permit to stay in Moscow. When he moved to Stalino, she certainly did not want to go she had started having affairs. [1] Their daughter was sent to live with his mother in Berdychiv.

Grossman began writing short stories while studying chemical engineering at Moscow State University and later continued his literary activity while working running chemical tests at a coal-mining concern in Stalino in the Donbass, and later in a pencil factory. [1] One of his first short stories, "In the Town of Berdichev" (В городе Бердичеве), drew favourable attention and encouragement from Maxim Gorky and Mikhail Bulgakov. The film Commissar (director Aleksandr Askoldov), made in 1967, suppressed by the KGB and released only in October 1990, is based on this four-page story.

In the mid-1930s Grossman left his job and committed himself fully to writing. By 1936 he had published two collections of stories and the novel Glyukauf, and in 1937 was accepted into the privileged Union of Writers. His novel Stepan Kol'chugin (published 1937-40) was nominated for a Stalin prize, but deleted from the list by Stalin himself for alleged Menshevik sympathies. [3]

Grossman's first marriage ended in 1933, and in the summer of 1935 he began an affair with Olga Mikhailovna Guber, the wife of his friend, the writer Boris Guber. Grossman and Olga began living together in October 1935, and they married in May 1936, a few days after Olga and Boris Guber divorced. In 1937 during the Great Purge Boris Guber was arrested, and later Olga was also arrested for failing to denounce her previous husband as an "enemy of the people". Grossman quickly had himself registered as the official guardian of Olga's two sons by Boris Guber, thus saving them from being sent to orphanages. He then wrote to Nikolay Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, pointing out that Olga was now his wife, not Guber's, and that she should not be held responsible for a man from whom she had separated long before his arrest. Grossman's friend, Semyon Lipkin, commented, "In 1937 only a very brave man would have dared to write a letter like this to the State's chief executioner." Astonishingly, Olga Guber was released. [4]

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Grossman's mother was trapped in Berdychiv by the invading German Army, and eventually murdered together with 20,000 to 30,000 other Jews who had not evacuated. Grossman was exempt from military service, but volunteered for the front, where he spent more than 1,000 days. He became a war correspondent for the popular Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star). As the war raged on, he covered its major events, including the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk and the Battle of Berlin. In addition to war journalism, his novels (such as The People are Immortal (Народ бессмертен)) were published in newspapers and he came to be regarded as a legendary war hero. The novel Stalingrad (1950), later renamed For a Just Cause (За правое дело), is based on his experiences during the siege. A new English translation, with added material from Grossman's politically risky early drafts, was published in 2019 under the original title, Stalingrad. [5] In December 2019 the book was the subject of the series Stalingrad: Destiny of a Novel in BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. [6]

Grossman described Nazi ethnic cleansing in German-occupied Ukraine and Poland and the liberation by the Red Army of the German Nazi Treblinka and Majdanek extermination camps. He collected some of the first eyewitness accounts—as early as 1943—of what later became known as the Holocaust. His article The Hell of Treblinka (1944) was disseminated at the Nuremberg Trials as evidence for the prosecution. [7]

The Hell of Treblinka Edit

Grossman interviewed former Sonderkommando inmates who escaped from Treblinka and wrote his manuscript without revealing their identities. He had access to materials already published. [8] Grossman described Treblinka's operation in the first person. [9] Of Josef Hirtreiter, the SS man who served at the reception zone of the Treblinka extermination camp during the arrival of transports, Grossman wrote: [9]

This creature specialized in the killing of children. Evidently endowed with unusual strength, it would suddenly snatch a child out of the crowd, swing him or her about like a cudgel and then either smash their head against the ground or simply tear them in half. When I first heard about this creature—supposedly human, supposedly born of a woman—I could not believe the unthinkable things I was told. But when I heard these stories repeated by eyewitnesses, when I realized that these witnesses saw them as mere details, entirely in keeping with everything else about the hellish regime of Treblinka, then I came to believe that what I had heard was true". [9]

Grossman's description of a physically unlikely method of killing a living human through tearing-by-hand originated from the 1944 memoir of the Treblinka revolt survivor Jankiel Wiernik, where the phrase to "tear the child in half" appeared for the first time. Wiernik himself never worked in the Auffanglager receiving area of the camp where Hirtreiter served, and so was repeating hearsay. [10] But the narrative repetition reveals that such stories were retold routinely. Wiernik's memoir was published in Warsaw as a clandestine booklet before the war's end, and translated in 1945 as A Year in Treblinka. [10] In his article, Grossman claimed that 3 million people had been killed at Treblinka, the highest estimate ever proposed, in line with the Soviet trend of exaggerating Nazi crimes for propaganda purposes. [11]

Grossman participated in the assembly of the Black Book, a project of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee to document the crimes of the Holocaust. The post-war suppression of the Black Book by the Soviet state shook him to the core, and he began to question his own loyal support of the Soviet regime. First the censors ordered changes in the text to conceal the specifically anti-Jewish character of the atrocities and to downplay the role of Ukrainians who worked with the Nazis as police. Then, in 1948, the Soviet edition of the book was scrapped completely. Semyon Lipkin wrote:

In 1946. I met some close friends, an Ingush and a Balkar, whose families had been deported to Kazakhstan during the war. I told Grossman and he said: "Maybe it was necessary for military reasons." I said: ". Would you say that if they did it to the Jews?" He said that could never happen. Some years later, a virulent article against cosmopolitanism appeared in Pravda. Grossman sent me a note saying I had been right after all. For years Grossman didn't feel very Jewish. The campaign against cosmopolitanism reawoke his Jewishness.

Grossman also criticized collectivization and political repression of peasants that led to the Holodomor tragedy. He wrote that "The decree about grain procurement required that the peasants of Ukraine, the Don and the Kuban be put to death by starvation, put to death along with their little children." [12]

Because of state persecution, only a few of Grossman's post-war works were published during his lifetime. After he submitted for publication his magnum opus, the novel Life and Fate (Жизнь и судьба, 1959), the KGB raided his flat. The manuscripts, carbon copies, notebooks, as well as the typists' copies and even the typewriter ribbons were seized. The Politburo ideology chief Mikhail Suslov told Grossman that his book could not be published for two or three hundred years: [13]

I have not read your novel but I have carefully read the reviews of your manuscript, responses to it, which contain many excerpts from your novel. Look how many quotes from them I have written down. Why should we add your book to the atomic bombs that our enemies are preparing to launch against us. Why should we publish your book and begin a public discussion as to whether anyone needs the Soviet Union or not? [14]

Grossman wrote to Nikita Khrushchev: "What is the point of me being physically free when the book I dedicated my life to is arrested. I am not renouncing it. I am requesting freedom for my book." However, Life and Fate and his last major novel, Everything Flows (Все течет, 1961) were considered a threat to the Soviet power and remained unpublished. Grossman died in 1964, not knowing whether his greatest work would ever be read by the public.

Grossman died of stomach cancer on 14 September 1964. He was buried at the Troyekurovskoye Cemetery on the edge of Moscow.


How Henryk Ross Risked His Life To Secretly Photograph Life In A Nazi Ghetto

Ross said this seated in a court witness stand in May 1961. He was dressed in a sport coat and button down shirt, open at the collar, testifying in his native Polish at the trial of the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, one of the hideous masterminds of the Holocaust. Ross was remembering back to the monstrous days at the beginning of 1940, recalling how he came, at age 30, to be imprisoned by the Nazis with hundreds of thousands of other Jews in the ghetto the Germans set up in the Polish city of Lodz. Prosecutors were using photos that Ross risked his life to secretly take there as part of the evidence that would help them convict Eichmann.

Hundreds of these grim black and white photos are now on view in the heartbreaking and horrifying exhibition “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts through July 30. This photographic archive — including vintage prints as well as new prints from the original wartime negatives — is one of the largest and most complete records of life as a captive of the Nazis in the 1940s as recorded by one of their victims. (Search it here.)

“It’s very rare to have this archive intact and all of it together,” says Kristen Gresh, the MFA curator overseeing this presentation of the photos. (The exhibition was originally organized by Maia-Mari Sutnik for the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, which owns the collection.) It "helps us get a window into the life of the ghetto and the amazing sense of resilience and survival throughout this harrowing time."

“I did it knowing that if I were caught my family and I would be tortured and killed,” Ross himself wrote in 1987. But he was determined to create “some record of our tragedy, namely the total elimination of the Jews from Lodz by the Nazi executioners. I was anticipating the total destruction of Polish Jewry.”

Henryk Ross photo of Lodz Ghetto police with woman behind barbed wire at the ghetto, 1942. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Three Photographers

Henryk Ross had been a photojournalist for Polish newspapers before World War II began, then was part of the Polish army crushed between the Germans who invaded from the west on Sept. 1, 1939, and the Soviets who invaded from the east on Sept. 17. Poland fell within weeks.

The German Army entered Lodz on Sept. 8. By the time Nazi SS and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler visited the city (which the Germans renamed Litzmannstadt) on Oct. 28, Germans had restricted Jewish financial transactions, banned Jewish holidays, seized Jewish property, prohibited Jews from trading in leather and textiles, and rounded up many Jews for labor camps.

The Germans isolated the Lodz Ghetto from the rest of the city — and the world — turning it into a prison work camp. “Surrounding the ghetto was a fence guarded by Germans. In the beginning they were Volksdeutsche police in blue uniforms,” Ross testified. “Afterwards there were other guards on behalf of the German ruling power — amongst them men of the NSDAP [Nazi party].”

Jews were required to identify themselves by wearing the Star of David: “Even babies in their cradles were obliged to wear the badge on their right arm and on their back,” Ross said.

Henryk Ross photo of a Lodz Ghetto scarecrow with Star of David, c. 1940-1944. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Gresh says the story is that when Ross arrived to be imprisoned at the Lodz Ghetto, his camera was confiscated, but then returned to him when he was given a photography job in the Statistics Department operated by the Jewish Council, or Judenrat. These were Jews within the ghetto who oversaw the community on behalf of the city's German Food and Economy Office, Ghetto Division.

The Statistics Department helped keep track of some 160,320 people held prisoner in the ghetto’s 4.13 square kilometers (it would later be reduced) by June 1940. Tens of thousands of Jews from the surrounding region and all of Western Europe were shipped into the ghetto. Thousands of Austrian Roma were segregated into a neighboring area. It was the Nazis’ second most populous concentration of Jews after Warsaw.

The MFA exhibit focuses solely on Ross’ work, but there was also another photographer in the Statistics Department busy documenting the ghetto. His name was Mendel Grossman. He was a 27-year-old aspiring painter, who’d taken up photography before the war — often retouching and conserving old family photos — to help support his family.

Grossman was now confined in the ghetto with his parents, two sisters, a brother-in-law and a young nephew in “one tiny room,” his friend Pinchas Shaar, a fine art painter who found work as a designer with the Statistics Department, said at a 1993 conference at New York’s Yeshiva University that was recorded in the 1999 book “Holocaust Chronicles.” “He was a small man, physically rather weak, with a severe asthmatic condition. Grossman spoke in short sentences, always a little skeptical, and often used the typically Lodzher Yiddish ‘Eh.’ He always carried a briefcase and wore an oversized raincoat that helped camouflage his Leica camera.”

Photo attributed to Mendel Grossman showing Henryk Ross photographing identification cards for the Jewish Administration, Statistics Department, in 1940. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

The Statistics Department's official photographers took pictures of all residents for identification cards. Ross smiles in the photo stapled to his 1941 ghetto ID (included in the MFA exhibition). It shows him with his dark hair slicked back, a bristly mustache, but his cheeks are hollow, having lost the plumpness seen in his ID from three years earlier. By the end of his imprisonment, his weight would shrink to about 85 pounds.

The official photographers were also tasked to take portraits of ghetto leaders, document unidentified corpses on the streets, record changes to buildings as the Germans tore them down and take pictures highlighting the efficiency and productivity of ghetto workshops where Jews made textiles, leather shoes, mattresses (stuffing them with wood shavings) and uniforms for the German military.

Additionally, Ross photographed portraits of people on the streets and at home. He recorded happy times in the ghetto: parties, gardening, people cavorting in trees and meadows, couples kissing.

Ross and Grossman knew each other — but “we don’t know too much about their relationship,” Gresh says. Photographs attributed to Grossman show Ross photographing a group of people for identification cards. Ross photographed Grossman taking pictures of the excavation of a central cesspit in 1941, working on prints of German administrators, and photographing residents sorting through a pile of bags containing the belongings left by behind by the "deported."

There was at least one more person creating a photographic archive of the ghetto: Walter Genewein, chief accountant of the financial office of the German ghetto division for Lodz. The Austrian Nazi was lanky, in suits, with a thin mustache and his hair slicked straight back. In the Polish city outside the Jewish ghetto, he photographed German leaders comfortable in well-appointed offices and smiling next to handsome cars. He photographed a circus tent festooned with Nazi swastika banners. He also documented the ghetto.

Unlike Ross and Grossman’s black and white photos of the ghetto, which seem suffused with midnight anxiety, Genewein’s images are color slides filled with a chilly sunlight — revealing the reds, blues and greens of the dresses and sweaters worn by the women braiding yellow straw outdoors to make shoes or crowded around tables sewing inside a ghetto textile workshop. He photographed the rakes and chairs and washboards crafted in the ghetto carpenter’s shop. He photographed a visit to the ghetto by Himmler and German soldiers inspecting a ghetto textile storeroom. Using a camera reportedly confiscated from a Lodz Jew, Genewein apparently wanted to show the success of his efforts to help maximize the profitability of the Lodz workshops for the Germans.

Genewein’s color slides also show the yellow of the Star of David adorning ghetto prisoners’ clothes. He photographed smiling Jewish policemen arresting a stunned looking old man in the ghetto — an apparently staged shot. He photographed a German soldier guarding Lodz Ghetto Jews boarding a passenger train for deportation in April 1942.

At one point during the war, German leaders in Lodz contrived to create a museum of "Customs of Eastern European Jewry" and Genewein was tasked with planning displays, Frances Guerin reports in her 2011 book “Through Amateur Eyes: Film and Photography in Nazi Germany.” Germany’s central propaganda offices rejected the idea as too uncritical of Jews, she writes. They were apparently not convinced by the insistence of Hans Biebow, one of the German administrators of the Lodz Ghetto, that the museum was designed to “arouse disgust in anyone who comes in contact with” Jewish life.

Henryk Ross' photo of Lodz Ghetto men alongside a building eating from pails, c. 1940-1944. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

‘To The Frying Pan’

“Our way is work!” was the slogan promoted by Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, the Elder or top leader of the ghetto’s Jewish Council. He was seen by many as cruel and domineering, an accomplice to the Nazis' crimes. But his underlying strategy was apparently to make the ghetto community useful to the Germans — to give more people a better, longer chance at survival.

However, the Lodz Ghetto remained part of the Germans’ overall effort to kill Jews throughout Europe, and ghetto residents were dying. From overwork. From lack of food. From disease. “We received a loaf of bread for eight days. Apart from this there were food rations in small quantities, which were sometimes rotten. … Those who worked received an extra ration of soup,” Ross testified.

Jewish ghetto leaders buried rotten potatoes “in the ground in chlorine, as they were not suitable for use. The children knew where they were to be found and dug them up,” Ross said. “They were so hungry that it didn't matter to them what they ate.”

Ross said, “People either swelled up from hunger or became emaciated. There were cases of people collapsing in the street there were cases where they collapsed at work and at home because of the difficult conditions. We were six to eight persons to one room, depending on the size of the room. People froze from the cold. There was no heating. … I saw entire families, skeletons of people, who during the night were dying with their children.”

Grossman photographed the decline of his own family — his parents and brother-in-law succumbing in 1942 and his young nephew Yankel dying of hunger in 1943.

Henryk Ross' photo of Lodz Ghetto men hauling a cart for bread distribution in 1942. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

In 1941, the Nazis set up a facility at Chelmno nad Nerem, about 30 miles northwest of Lodz. Prisoners were shipped there, sealed into the rear compartments of “gas vans,” and murdered by pumping in the vehicles’ poisonous exhaust fumes. Their bodies were then buried or burned.

In the first half of 1942, some 52,304 Jews from Lodz were herded onto freight trains at Radogoszcz station and sent to their deaths at Chelmno, joining some 4,500 Roma who’d been sent ahead of them.

“In the year 1940, it was still not known [where the transports were going to],” Ross testified, “but in 1941, at the time of the further deportations, the Jews began to make inquiries and it became known to them that they were going into the ‘frying pan.’ … This was a routine expression of the people in the ghetto. They knew they were going to be burned, they used to call this ‘going to the frying pan.’ ”

Henryk Ross' photo of a Lodz Ghetto entrance sign saying: “Wohngebiet der Juden Betreten Verboten” (“Residential area of the Jews, entry forbidden”), c. 1940-1944. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

‘Forbidden’ Photos

“When I had more free time,” Ross told the Israeli court, “I also used to take photographs which it was forbidden to take.”

Grossman took illegal photos too. Exhibition organizers are unclear whether the two men knew they were both working on assembling a secret record of Nazi crimes. Ross recorded official ID portraits by photographing large groups all in a single frame, then cropping the negative to print individual portraits — apparently in an effort to stockpile film for unofficial use. But this cannot account for all the seemingly unofficial photos Ross and Grossman took. Perhaps Jews in charge of the film and printing paper purposely turned a blind eye to the supplies the men were using up.

A late 1941 order severely restricted their photography. Rumkowski wrote to Grossman that Dec. 8: “I inform you herewith that you are not allowed to work in your profession for private purposes. . Your photographic work is confined only to the activity in the department in which you are employed.”

“To fool the police, [Grossman] carried his camera under his coat. He kept his hands in his pockets, which were cut open inside, and he thus could manipulate the camera. He directed the lens by turning his body in the direction he wanted, then slightly parted his coat, and clicked the shutter,” Arieh Ben-Menahem, a photographer who worked as Grossman’s assistant during the war, wrote in the 1977 book “With a Camera in the Ghetto: Mendel Grossman.”

Ross adopted a similar technique. Stefania Schoenberg — whom he married under a chuppah (canopy) in the ghetto in 1941 — sometimes served as his lookout. The photographers were helped in keeping low profiles by using the small, lightweight, hand-held cameras that had begun to revolutionize photography by replacing heavier, bulkier cameras and tripods in the 1930s.

Henryk Ross' photo of a Lodz Ghetto Jewish policeman’s family: mother with infant, c. 1940-1942. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

It’s difficult to tell from the Ross and Grossman photos that survive exactly which were on-the-job pictures and which were secret, illegal photos. (Also over the years, publications have repeatedly misidentified and confused Ross’ and Grossman’s photos, so attribution can be tricky.) Ross photographed the smashed ruins of the Wolborska Street synagogue after the Germans demolished it in 1939 — and a man carrying the Torah he saved from the rubble. Grossman and Ross photographed people moving into the ghetto, carrying their possessions on wagons or dragged on crude sledges. They both photographed the barbed wire caging in the ghetto. Ross took tender photos of a woman hugging and kissing her infant and being hugged by (apparently) her husband, a policeman for the ghetto’s Jewish authority.

Grossman and Ross both surreptitiously photographed hangings. Grossman “climbed electric power posts to photograph a convoy of deportees on their way to the trains, he walked roofs, climbed the steeple of a church that remained within the confines of the ghetto in order to photograph a change of guard at the barbed-wire fence,” Ben-Menahem wrote.

Ross photographed people protesting at the kitchen because of lousy food. He photographed a man collapsed in the street from hunger. Grossman photographed people kissing goodbye during deportations. Ross recorded a little boy dressed as a Jewish policeman “arresting” a playmate. He photographed two boys seeming to speak to a woman on the wrong side of a chain-link fence. “The mother of these two children was deported and the children stayed behind in the ghetto. They were deported later on, but not together,” Ross recalled in David Perlov’s 1979 documentary film “Memories of the Eichmann Trial” (screening in the first room of the MFA exhibit).

“At moments when no German was seen in the vicinity, when they had gone elsewhere to beat up people,” Ross testified at the trial, “I took advantage of that moment to take photographs.”

Henryk Ross' photo of the Lodz Ghetto prison at Czarnecki Street, a rallying point before deportation, c. 1940-1942. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

‘They Snatched Children’

In late August 1942, the Germans decided to eliminate all who could not work from the ghetto — the sick, the children, the elderly — except from the families of ghetto officials and police. “Rumkowski had not been willing to split up families,” Holocaust scholar Robert Jan van Pelt reports in the exhibition catalog. But on Sept. 1, Rumkowski ordered Jewish police to seize patients from hospitals and take them to the trains. On Sept. 4, Rumkowski gave a public speech to parents in the ghetto imploring them to give up their children for "resettlement."

According to “The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto,” a daily diary of the community authored by multiple members of the Jewish administration, Jewish police and firemen surrounded buildings, Nazi Gestapo ordered people out, and Jewish police searched inside to round up any stragglers.

Ross seems to have been talking about this period when he testified: “They … snatched children from the arms of their mothers I do not have to say that this was not voluntary, and I do not see the necessity for talking here about the shouts and the blows.”

People who tried to escape were shot dead on the spot. Ben-Menahem writes that Grossman insinuated himself among a group of gravediggers to photograph victims piled in the cemetery.

“I saw an instance where they collected children in a particular hospital in Drewnowska Street,” Ross said. “The Germans concluded that too few people were riding in the vehicles. They said they had to load more. The trucks came to the front of the hospital where the children were assembled. … The children scratched the walls with their fingernails. The children did not cry any more, they knew what awaited them, they had heard about it. They could not cry. The Germans were running around in these rooms, they beat them and threw them from the windows and the balconies into these trucks. I was not there for a long time, for it was dangerous even for me to be there.”

Ross photographed Jewish police — with their distinctive Star of David armbands and round-sided, flat-topped hats — at a hospital window helping take people for “deportation.” Ross photographed horses clopping down the ghetto’s cobblestone streets pulling wooden wagons overflowing with children, never to return.

By Sept. 12, historians believe some 15,681 people — including 5,862 children — were shipped out of the ghetto and murdered at Chelmno. By late 1942, the ghetto population has been reduced to 89,446 residents.

Henryk Ross' photo of Lodz Ghetto children being transported to the Chelmo nad Nerem death camp, 1942. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

‘Through A Hole In A Board’

The grueling forced labor in the ghetto workshops continued until June 10, 1944, when Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler ordered the extermination of the Lodz Ghetto. At that point it was the longest surviving Nazi ghetto in Poland — the Germans had eliminated the Warsaw Ghetto a year earlier. Between June 23 and July 17, 1944, some 7,196 Lodz Ghetto residents were sent on the last transports to Chelmno. In August 1944, about 70,000 more residents were put on trains out of Lodz to the Auschwitz death camp.

Ross secretly photographed a crowd of Lodz Jews being ushered onto a train of boxcars: “People with whom I was acquainted worked at the railway station of Radogoszcz, which was outside the ghetto but linked to it, and where trains destined for Auschwitz were standing. On one occasion I managed to get into the railway station in the guise of a cleaner. My friends shut me into a cement storeroom. I was there from six in the morning until seven in the evening, until the Germans went away and the transport departed. I watched as the transport left. I heard shouts. I saw the beatings. I saw how they were shooting at them, how they were murdering them, those who refused. Through a hole in a board of the wall of the storeroom I took several pictures.”

Ross’ photo is blurry, taken from a distance, behind what seems to be a line of concrete slabs. No German soldiers are in sight, just the Jewish police of the ghetto, with their Star of David armbands, standing at the edge of the crowd and perched in the door of a boxcar helping a woman climb aboard.

Ross’ photos of Jews apparently collaborating in the execution of their neighbors as well as his pictures of happy times in the ghetto have long been controversial. “Basically the ghetto was run by Jewish officers who were forced to implement Nazi wishes,” Gresh says. “That’s part of the complexity of the Jewish Council.” Ross and Grossman, of course, were a part of the Council too. “They were all actually victims because so many in the ghetto did die, but in everyday life there were different levels.”

Grossman’s sister Fajda and the Jewish leader Rumkowski were among the Lodz Jews then taken to Auschwitz, where they perished. Most were sent directly to their deaths in the gas chambers.

Henryk Ross' photo of a boy walking in front of a Lodz Ghetto bridge at Zigerska Street, with residents crossing, c. 1940-1944. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Hiding The Photos

Ross and Grossman managed to survive until the Nazis launched the final 1944 elimination of the Lodz Ghetto — perhaps in part because their special status as employees of the Jewish Council had helped protect them. As the end of the ghetto arrived, they hurried to preserve their photographic evidence of Nazi crimes.

“I hid the [about 6,000] negatives in barrels and concealed them in the ground,” Ross testified. “I hid them … in the presence of several of my friends, so that if we died and one of us survived, the photographs would remain for the sake of history.”

Grossman’s friend, the designer Pinchas Shaar, said the photographer stashed thousands of negatives, hundreds of prints, his Leica camera and jewelry entrusted to him by relatives in two big clay jars and buried them in opposite walls of an abandoned bunker. Ben-Menahem gives a somewhat different account, writing that Grossman packed his archive in tin cans inside a wooden crate, “with the help of a friend he took out a window sill in his apartment, removed some bricks, placed the crate in the hollow, then replaced the sill.” The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., says the prints were hidden in the apartment and in a cellar.

In fall 1944, Grossman was sent from Lodz to a concentration camp in Germany, about 20 miles southwest of Berlin. Shaar said he was there with Grossman as Soviet forces surrounded Berlin in April 1945 and the SS camp commander tried to hurry the Jews out of the facility. Shaar said Grossman was marched out in a first group, but the rest of the prisoners were halted when American and British bombers flew over and were liberated days later by Soviet troops. Among these soldiers, Shaar recalled, was a Jewish commander: “He said we were the first living Jews he had encountered on the march from Moscow to Berlin.”

“After the war, upon meeting the survivors of the first group [marched out of the camp], in which Grossman had been included, we learned that they had been taken in the direction of the Bavarian Alps,” Shaar said. “Sick men on the march who could not keep up with the group and lagged behind were shot. One of them was Mendel Grossman.”

Henryk Ross' 1940 photo of a man walking in winter in the remains of the Lodz synagogue on Wolborska Street, destroyed in 1939 by the Germans. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

‘Fortunately I Remained Alive’

After nearly all the prisoners had been shipped out of the Lodz Ghetto, the Germans still left about 900 people behind as a final “clean-up crew.” They were tasked with emptying the ghetto buildings, gathering anything useful, searching for any valuables the departed may have hidden. Ross and his wife were among these people — whom the Germans planned to kill after they finished the work.

Ross continued to photograph. Apparently during this time, he recorded baskets and metal pails collected into a pile in an abandoned street amidst the ghost town of empty houses.

The Russian Red Army liberated the ghetto in mid January 1945. Ross and his wife were among the 877 recorded as survivors there. He photographed some of the celebration — including what looks like a woman dancing with a smiling Soviet soldier. He photographed a half a dozen freed Lodz Jews standing under the sign reading “Residential Area of the Jews / Entry Forbidden” above the now open gate to the ghetto. They seem wary, but grin.

In March 1945, men and women, a boy, gathered to help Ross dig up his archive from a patch of earth near his ghetto home, with a tree at the edge, some brambles, and a building in the distance. A photo shows him stooping over to lift out the box as the group smiles.

“Fortunately I remained alive and I dug them up,” Ross testified. “Some [of the negatives] were destroyed owing to water seeping in, but the greater part was saved.” In fact, about half were lost. Many of those that survived were damaged (which the new prints in the MFA show purposefully reveal, like scars).

“It’s a reminder of all that the camera can be,” Gresh says. “It can be a weapon and it can be an act of resistance.”

Henryk Ross' excavating his hidden box of negatives and documents from the Lodz Ghetto in 1945. (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

After the final German surrender that spring, Shaar said, he returned to Lodz on foot. “The first thing that I and my brothers did was … excavate [Grossman’s] hidden jars.” Part of the photo archive was missing, he said, but prints and hundreds of negatives remained. Grossman’s younger sister, Ruzhka (sometimes spelled Rozka) also found her way back to Lodz and took or sent the negatives to the Kibbutz Nitzanim in Palestine. But when Egyptian forces overran the kibbutz and took residents captive during the 1948-’49 Israeli War of Independence, Ben-Menahem wrote, “the treasure was lost.” All that is known to survive of Grossman’s project are prints that remained in the hands of friends.

Genewein, the Nazi accountant and photographer in Lodz, survived the war and returned to his native Austria. In 1947, a neighbor reportedly accused him of having enriched himself with a valuable rug and vase taken from Jews. He spent a month in jail, but managed to explain the accusation away without facing formal charges. He died in 1974 at the age of 73. His cache of Lodz ghetto photos only became known publicly when some 400 of his color slides from the 1940s turned up in 1987 in a Vienna antique shop.

Ross lived to 1991. After the war, the MFA exhibition reports, he operated a photography business in Lodz and photographed the trial of Hans Biebow, one of the German administrators of the ghetto, in a Polish court at Lodz in 1947. In the 1950s, Ross moved with his family to Israel. In 1961, when Ross testified at the Eichmann trial (Eichmann “kept looking at me as if he was angry I survived,” Ross’ wife Stefania says in “Memories of the Eichmann Trial"), he was working at Orit Zincography — apparently a lithographic printing business — in Tel Aviv.

Ross published a collection of his photos, “The Last Journey of the Jews of Lodz,” the following year. He seems to have given up on documentary photography as a profession. But for decades, he edited and re-edited a 17-page photographic folio (included in the exhibition) of his years in the ghetto.

“These four years,” Gresh says, “were truly his life’s work.”


The Litzmannstadt Ghetto (1939-1944)

The Nazis put him in the Łódź Ghetto in 1939 there he found work as a photographer, making identification cards and documenting the work that his fellow inmates did in the ghetto. The Ghetto Government thought that these photographs would convince the Nazis to treat them better because they were diligent. Grossman also hid a camera in his coat during the day and took photographs of the living conditions of the ghetto. He took these photographs at great risk to his life, not only because the Gestapo suspected him, but also because of his weak heart. Some of his photographs assisted people to identify the graves of their loved ones. M. Grossman's negatives are now the prepared documentation of the Holocaust. Grossman distributed many of his photographs those he was unable to distribute, he tried to hide. In August 1944, shortly before the final liquidation of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, he hid ca. 10.000 negatives, showing scenes from the Ghetto.


Mendel Grossman (1913&ndash1945)

Mendel Grossman was born to a Jewish family in
Staszów, Poland. When he was a small child, the family moved to Łódź. He began to draw and paint from an early age. He took photos first as an amateur, then later gained recognition as a professional artist-photographer. In the 1930s, he took photos of the Jewish Theater in Łódź, and got to know many actors, writers, poets, musicians and painters. He also took street photos, recording children playing and laborers at work.

After Nazi Germany invaded his homeland in World War II, Grossman and his family were confined to the Łódź (Litzmannstadt) Ghetto, where he got a job with the Department of Statistics, taking photos for work permits. It was the perfect cover for his true intention: to secretly record for posterity the brutal conditions in the Łódź Ghetto, such as starvation, deportations and public executions. Taking these photos was forbidden but he persevered at the risk of his own life, concealing a camera under his coat. In August 1944, shortly before the final liquidation of the Ghetto, he hid about 10,000 negatives of his photos in tin cans.
When the Gestapo found out about his activities, he was deported to a forced labor camp at Koenigs Wusterhausen, and later shot by the Nazis during a death march, at age 32.
Grossman's sister Fajge found some of his hidden photographs and took them to Israel, but most of these were lost during the War of Independence in 1948. Other photos by Grossman were saved by his friend Nachman (Natek) Zonabend, who concealed them, along with the archives of the Ghetto, at the bottom of a well.

These photographs are now located in the Museum of Holocaust and Resistance at the Ghetto Fighters House in Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, Israel, as well as at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Some of the photos taken by Mendel Grossman were used in the book With a Camera in the Ghetto (1977).


Experiments and Theories

Around 1854, Mendel began to research the transmission of hereditary traits in plant hybrids. At the time of Mendel’s studies, it was a generally accepted fact that the hereditary traits of the offspring of any species were merely the diluted blending of whatever traits were present in the “parents.” It was also commonly accepted that, over generations, a hybrid would revert to its original form, the implication of which suggested that a hybrid could not create new forms. However, the results of such studies were often skewed by the relatively short period of time during which the experiments were conducted, whereas Mendel’s research continued over as many as eight years (between 1856 and 1863), and involved tens of thousands of individual plants.

Mendel chose to use peas for his experiments due to their many distinct varieties, and because offspring could be quickly and easily produced. He cross-fertilized pea plants that had clearly opposite characteristics—tall with short, smooth with wrinkled, those containing green seeds with those containing yellow seeds, etc.𠅊nd, after analyzing his results, reached two of his most important conclusions: the Law of Segregation, which established that there are dominant and recessive traits passed on randomly from parents to offspring (and provided an alternative to blending inheritance, the dominant theory of the time), and the Law of Independent Assortment, which established that traits were passed on independently of other traits from parent to offspring. He also proposed that this heredity followed basic statistical laws. Though Mendel’s experiments had been conducted with pea plants, he put forth the theory that all living things had such traits.

In 1865, Mendel delivered two lectures on his findings to the Natural Science Society in Brno, who published the results of his studies in their journal the following year, under the title Experiments on Plant Hybrids. Mendel did little to promote his work, however, and the few references to his work from that time period indicated that much of it had been misunderstood. It was generally thought that Mendel had shown only what was already commonly known at the time—that hybrids eventually revert to their original form. The importance of variability and its evolutionary implications were largely overlooked. Furthermore, Mendel&aposs findings were not viewed as being generally applicable, even by Mendel himself, who surmised that they only applied to certain species or types of traits. Of course, his system eventually proved to be of general application and is one of the foundational principles of biology.


History of Science Society

In 1900, plant breeders Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak published articles on their application of laws for heredity outlined by Gregor Mendel in 1865. The English biologist William Bateson allegedly read about Mendel’s work while riding on a train to London on 8 May 1900 to deliver a lecture on heredity before the Royal Horticultural Society. Detailed analysis of the publication dates for the “rediscovery” papers document that Bateson could not have learned about Mendel’s work before mid-May 1900.

Bateson presented a course on heredity and evolution at Cambridge which ended in March 1900. He made a handwritten annotation at the bottom of the course syllabus “De Vries-Correns— stress on Mendel’s law.” This suggests that he read the articles by these authors that spring and before he was aware of the paper by von Tschermak. Bateson revised his May conference remarks for publication in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society and summarized the work of all three of the “rediscoverers.” The data imply that Bateson first heard about Mendel after the middle of May 1900, but did not publish his own interpretation of Mendel’s work until late summer of the same year.

The year 1900 was significant because four biologists became aware of an obscure 1865 study by the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel on heredity which subsequently provided the theoretical basis for modern genetics. 1 Carl Correns in Germany read Mendel’s work as early as 1896 but did not appreciate it until he began to organize his own breeding studies for publication in late 1899. 2 Hugo de Vries in the Netherlands studied plant hybrids and learned of Mendel’s paper in early 1900. 3 The Austrian plant breeder Erich von Tschermak read Mendel’s paper in the fall of 1899 while he prepared his dissertation. 4

These three “rediscoverers” published their findings in 1900. Robert Olby has outlined the probable dates of the four publications in question. 5

Table 1. Publications related to Mendel

AuthorDate SubmittedDate Published
de Vries 6 14 March 1900c. 21 April 1900
de Vries 7 14 March 190025 April 1900
Correns 8 24 April 19003 May 1900
von Tschermak 9 2 June 190024 July 1900

William Bateson of Cambridge was also an accomplished plant and animal breeder. He prepared a lecture on “Problems of Heredity” for the Royal Horticultural Society meeting of 8 May 1900. While on the train to London, he reportedly read Mendel’s original report for the first time and incorporated these laws of inheritance into his presentation. 10 This account by Beatrice Bateson in 1928 does not square with historical facts, however. If he read a paper on the train, it would have been the first de Vries paper which did not mention Mendel. In fact, a contemporaneous summary of Bateson’s lecture (published 12 May 1900) only reported his discussion of the first de Vries paper. Mendel is not referenced at all. 11 This suggests an approximate two-week transit time for mail from the continent to England.

Bateson revised his lecture notes for publication later in 1900 and discussed both papers by de Vries. The second cited Mendel’s work which Bateson deemed “… a marked step forward” in understanding the mechanism of heredity. Bateson also reviewed breeding work by Correns and von Tschermak that confirmed Mendel’s results with Pisum hybridization. 12 The publication dates of the four cited papers indicate that Bateson could have prepared his manuscript for publication no earlier than August 1900. The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society does not indicate when Batson’s paper was actually published.

The printed syllabus from Bateson’s course on “The Practical Study of Evolution” for the academic year 1899-1900 has recently come to hand. The Lent Term began on 8 January 1900 and ended on 27 March 1900.

Course Syllabus “The Practical Study of Evolution” 1899-1900. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Bateson made handwritten notes for selected lecture titles. The “Heredity” lecture reviewed the known laws of the phenomenon. His comment “Regression” refers to the statistical regression to the mean for inherited characters observed by Francis Galton. 13 At the bottom of the page Bateson wrote “de Vries-Correns—stress on Mendel’s law.” This comment was not associated with any specific lecture and suggests that it was added sometime after the completion of the term. Bateson could have read the de Vries and Correns papers about Mendel as early as the middle of May 1900. As he did not mention von Tschermak, he probably was not yet familiar with that paper.

Bateson subsequently exchanged letters on the application of Mendel’s work with Galton on 9 August, and with Correns and de Vries in October 1900. 14

The available data suggest that Bateson first learned about Mendel from his reading of the de Vries and Correns papers after mid-May 1900, but did not publish his own interpretation of Mendel’s work until late summer of the same year.

Alan R. Rushton taught at Princeton University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He practiced Pediatrics and Medical Genetics, and has a long-standing interest in the history of genetics.

1. L. C. Dunn, A Short History of Genetics (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1991), pp. 62-77. Gregor Mendel, “Versuche über Pflanzhybriden,” Verhandlungen des naturforschender Verein in Brunn, 1865, 4: 3-47.

2. H. J. Rheinberger, “When did Correns read Gregor Mendel’s paper?” Isis, 1995, 86: 612-616.

3. I. Stamhuis, O. G. Meijer and E. J. A. Zevenhuizen, “Hugo de Vries on heredity,” Isis, 1999, 90: 238-267.

4. M. Simunek, U. Hossfeld and V. Wisseman, “‘Rediscovery’ revised—The cooperation of Erich and Armin von Tschermak-Seysenegg in the context of the ‘rediscovery’ of Mendel’s laws in 1899-1901,” Plant Biology, 2011, 13: 835-841.

5. Robert C. Olby, “William Bateson’s introduction of Mendelism to England: A reassessment,” British Journal for the History of Science, 1987, 30: 399-420.

6. Hugo de Vries, “Sur la loi de disjunction des hibrides,” Compte Rendus de l’Academie Science, 1900, 130: 845-847.

7. Hugo de Vries, “Das Spaltungsgesetz der Bastarde,” Berichte der Deutscher botanischer Gesellschaft, 1900, 18: 83-90.

8. Carl Correns, “G. Mendel’s Regel über das Verhalten der Nachkommenschaft der Rassenbastarde,” Berichte der Deutscher botanischer Gesellschaft, 1900, 18: 158-168.

9. Erich von Tschermak, “Über künstliche Kreuzung bei Pisum sativum,” Berichte der Deutscher botanischer Gesellschaft, 1900, 18: 232-239.

10. Beatrice Bateson, William Bateson, F.R.S. Naturalist: His Essays and Addresses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928), p. 73.

11. Maxwell Masters, “Lecture,” Gardner’s Chronicle, 1900-1901, 25: 303.

12. William Bateson, “Problems of heredity as a subject for horticultural investigation,” Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, 1900-1901, 25: 54-61.

13. Francis Galton, “Typical laws of heredity,” Nature, 1877, 23: 492-95, 512-514. Francis Galton, “The average contribution of each of several ancestors to the total heritage of the offspring,” Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1897, 61: 401-413.

14. William Bateson, Letter to Francis Galton 9 August 1900 B 3201. Quoted from the Bateson Archive, John Innes Centre Library, Norwich, England. Hugo de Vries, Letter to William Bateson 18 October 1900 B 246. Quoted from the Coleman Collection, American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia. Carl Correns, Letter to William Bateson 21 October 1900 B 253. Quoted from the Coleman Collection, American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia.


Secretly Photographing the Holocaust: Rare Photos Taken by a Jewish Photographer That Show Daily Life in the Lodz Ghetto

This post was originally published on this site

Mendel Grossman was born in Staszów, Poland on 27 June 1913. After the occupation of Poland by the German Army in September 1939, he joined the underground in the town.

Forced to live in the Lodz ghetto he used his position in the statistics department to obtain the material needed to take photographs. By hiding his camera in his raincoat, Grossman was able to take secret photographs of scenes in the ghetto. He took these photographs at great risk to his life, not only because the Gestapo suspected him, but also because of his weak heart. Some of his photographs assisted people in identifying the graves of their loved ones.

Mendel Grossman&rsquos negatives are now the prepared documentation of the Holocaust. Grossman distributed many of his photographs those he was unable to distribute, he tried to hide. In August 1944, shortly before the final liquidation of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, he hid ca. 10,000 negatives showing scenes from the Ghetto. In the ghetto, he lived together with his family at 55 Marynarskiej street.

Mendel Grossman, the ghetto photographer, with a friend.

Mendel Grossman taking photographs in the ghetto.

The photographer Mendel Grossman in his laboratory.

Grossman continued to take photographs after he was deported to the Konigs Wusterhausen labor camp. He stayed there until 16 April 1945. On 30 April 1945, he was shot by Nazis during a forced death march, still holding on to his camera.

After the war his hidden negatives were discovered. Grossman&rsquos sister found some of his hidden photographs and took them to Israel, but they were mostly lost in the Israeli war of Independence. Other photos taken by Grossman were found by one of his friends, Nachman (Natek) Zonabend these photographs are now located in the Museum of Holocaust and Resistance at the Ghetto Fighters House in Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, Israel, as well as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.


Watch the video: MENDEL. UNIVERSAL OMEGA OFFICIAL FULL ALBUM STREAM