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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Polish-Jewish Studies

The guide serves as an introduction to Polish-Jewish studies and draws on Polish and Jewish studies collections of the UIUC Library.

Books

And I Still See Their Faces: Images of Polish Jews
Call Number: Q. 940.53185438 An223
ISBN: 83-901016-03
Beautifully arranged and elegantly written, this book - based on a 1994 exhibit of previously unknown photographs - contains vivid and high quality images of Poland’s Jews prior to and during the Holocaust. The images are personal and paint a diverse picture of Jewish life in Poland. Each image is tagged with a number and accompanied with a detailed description of the subjects within the photos. The book and all of its images are also available online.

Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939 (1977) / Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Call Number: Q. 325.25693 D65I
“The text combines visual anthropology and history, the respective specialties of the two authors. This volume documents a culture of which a significant part was neither visibly Jewish nor obviously Polish, but, rather, western in style of dress, manners, politics and private conviction. No longer do we see only the sad, pious, underprivileged, whose large eyes and pale complexions have so far dominated our visual consciousness of eastern European life, but also the merry the secular and the affluent who led a cosmopolitan existence”  (review by Julia Hirsch Schwartz from Jewish Social Studies).

The Polish Jewry: History and Culture (1982) - Marian Fuks 
Call Number: Q. 943.8004924 P766
ISBN: 8322320027
The first hundred pages consist of an overview of Jewish history and culture, primarily from the nineteenth century to the Holocaust. The second hundred pages, however, consist of 97 plates featuring color and black and white reproductions of artwork, as well as photographs of Jewish artifacts, synagogues, and cemeteries. A great visual resource for Polish-Jewish studies.

Polish Jews: A Pictorial Record (1947) -- Roman Vishniac 
Call Number: 296 V825P
Consists of 31 full-page black and white photographs depicting Jewish life in Poland and surrounding areas, taken in 1938 and published in 1947. They focus primarily on these communities’ poverty and religious life. Accompanied by an elegiac introductory essay by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

A Vanished World (1983) - Roman Vishniac 
Call Number: Q. 947.0004924 V823V
ISBN: 0374282471
This is a higher quality expanded version of Vishniac's Polish Jews, and features a wider variety of photographs. These 180 photographs are accompanied by short notes by Vishniac describing them, as well as a foreword by Elie Wiesel

Polish Jews: The Final Chapter (1977) - text by Earl Vinecour; photos by Chuck Fishman
Call number: 325.25693 V75P
This elegiac and personal book published by NYU Press is the result of a trip by two American Jews to Poland in 1975. It consists of a somewhat impressionistic essay on the remnants of the Jewish community in 1970s Poland, accompanied by plentiful beautiful original black and white photography depicting Jewish life and historical sites in Cracow, Warsaw, and other cities.

Photographs of Jewish Ghettos

Digital Collections

And I Still See Their Faces: Images of Polish Jews – Fundacja Shalom
This website provides full online text and picture access for users who seek digital copies of the book “And I Still See Their Faces.” Here is information about the book: “Beautifully arranged and elegantly written this book contains vivid and high quality images of Poland’s Jews prior to and during the Nazi Holocaust. The images are personal and paint a diverse picture of Jewish life in Poland. Each image is tagged with a number and accompanied with a detailed description of the subjects within the photos.”
*Also available in hard copy through the library. For more information about the book please visit the Photographs (Books) tab.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Online Photo Archive
From the website: “Approximately 20% of the Museum’s 85,000 historical photographs in the Photo Archives are available through this online catalog. More are being added each month. In general, only photographs belonging to the Museum or determined to be in the public domain are featured in this online catalog. However, in a few instances special permission has been obtained to include photographs belonging to other archives or collectors. Approximately 600 of the 15,000 institutional photographs of the Museum (images of the Museum and its programs) are available through this online catalog.”

YIVO Online Galleries
The YIVO Institute has periodically curated thematic exhibitions displaying its local collections on various aspects of Jewish history and culture. Although it could be more extensive and easier to navigate, this site does feature samples from each exhibition.

"People of a Thousand Towns": The Online Catalog of Photographs of Jewish Life in Prewar Eastern Europe
An online exhibition of photographs from the YIVO Institute. From the website: "The photographs in People of a Thousand Towns constitute a visual record of thousands of pre-World War II Jewish communities in Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. They span the late 19th century to the early 1940s and document the lives of large Jewish centers as well as many smaller towns and villages." Click on "Online Albums" to browse the collection.