In the winter of 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, Jewish photographer Henryk Ross buried a box of photographs in the ground. Just over a year later, he returned to unearth the photos, and the tragic story they told still resonates to this day.


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Henryk Ross of Łódź, Poland was a simple news and sports photographer when German forces invaded his city in 1939. From then on, he survived by taking identity photos and propaganda shots for the Nazi Department of Statistics. While on the job, however, he risked his life to secretly document day-to-day events in the Łódź ghetto, which eventually included the deportation of its residents to death camps. Being at risk of a similar fate himself, he buried his photos near his house in a tar-sealed box, preserving evidence of the crimes against his people for future generations.

After the liberation of Łódź by the Soviet Army in 1945, Ross came back to dig up his photos, many of which were damaged or destroyed by ground water. The ones that remained intact, though, provided an intimate look inside the lives of Polish Jews, many of whom met the most unspeakable of ends. They now call the Art Gallery of Ontario home, and live on as a memorial to the victims of the world's largest genocide.

#1 1940-1944: Portrait Of A Couple

1940-1944: Portrait Of A Couple

Henryk Ross Report

htbq 2 months ago

someone should photoshop the second photo mirror reflection to replace the first photo mirror reflection.

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#3 1940-1944: A Boy Searching For Food

1940-1944: A Boy Searching For Food

Henryk Ross Report

Anastasia Dashkevich 2 months ago

My grandmother told she and her siblings were looking for the rotten potatoes on the fields in winter after nazies burned all village. It happened in Belarus...

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#4 1940: A Man Walking In Winter In The Ruins Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street (Destroyed By Germans In 1939)

1940: A Man Walking In Winter In The Ruins Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street (Destroyed By Germans In 1939)

Henryk Ross Report

Wiktoria Kozłowicz 2 months ago

I made reconstrucion of this Synagogoue as my academic degree here you can see how it looked https://youtu.be/BARy4alee6I :)

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#5 1944: Food Pails And Dishes Left Behind By Ghetto Residents Who Had Been Deported To Death Camps

1944: Food Pails And Dishes Left Behind By Ghetto Residents Who Had Been Deported To Death Camps

Henryk Ross Report

Michel M. Prins 2 months ago

Knowing what would happen with deportation, makes this photo incredibly powerful, without even showing a single person.

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#6 1940-1944: A Smiling Child

1940-1944: A Smiling Child

Henryk Ross Report

Anne Kammersgaard 2 months ago

Wow! The "effect" around the picture makes it all the more sad.

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#8 1940-1942: Woman With Her Child (Ghetto Policemen's Family)

1940-1942: Woman With Her Child (Ghetto Policemen's Family)

Henryk Ross Report

John L 2 months ago

Even amidst the persecution and killings, there is still the glimmer of hope and love, before it too is ground into the ashes.

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