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.

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 1 year ago

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

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#2 1940: A Man Who Saved The Torah From The Rubble Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street

1940: A Man Who Saved The Torah From The Rubble Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street

Henryk Ross Report

Heidi Smith 1 year ago

torah= first 5 books of the bible

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#3 1940-1944: A Boy Searching For Food

1940-1944: A Boy Searching For Food

Henryk Ross Report

Anastasia Dashkevich 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago

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

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#7 1945: Henryk Ross' Excavating His Hidden Box Of Negatives And Documents From The Lodz Ghetto

1945: Henryk Ross' Excavating His Hidden Box Of Negatives And Documents From The Lodz Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

varwenea 1 year ago

True treasure is found

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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 1 year 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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#9 1940-1944: Young Girl

1940-1944: Young Girl

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Birchy Cat 1 year ago

What happened to her?

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#10 1940-1944: Sign For Jewish Residential Area (“Jews. Entry Forbidden”)

1940-1944: Sign For Jewish Residential Area (“Jews. Entry Forbidden”)

Henryk Ross Report

Danielle Goedhart 1 year ago

The sign says 'Jewish neighborhood. Entering is forbidden'.

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#11 1940-1942: Lodz Ghetto Prison At Czarnecki Street, A Rallying Point Before Deportation

1940-1942: Lodz Ghetto Prison At Czarnecki Street, A Rallying Point Before Deportation

Henryk Ross Report

Katharina P. 1 year ago

Those women. They were so classy, so beautiful.

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#12 1940-1944: A Wedding In The Ghetto

1940-1944: A Wedding In The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

Birchy Cat 1 year ago

Hope and heartache

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#13 1940-1944: A Boy In A Doorway Swing

1940-1944: A Boy In A Doorway Swing

Henryk Ross Report

Birchy Cat 1 year ago

Innocent

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#14 1940-1944: Deportation In Winter

1940-1944: Deportation In Winter

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Terri Owens 1 year ago

Off to meet their maker & they didn't even know it.... I cannot imagine

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#15 1942: Children Being Transported To Chelmno Nad Nerem (Renamed Kulmhof) Death Camp

1942: Children Being Transported To Chelmno Nad Nerem (Renamed Kulmhof) Death Camp

Henryk Ross Report

Hope Floats 1 year ago

Just so absolutely tragic....

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#16 1940: Henryk Ross Photographing For Identification Cards, Jewish Administration, Department Of Statistics

1940: Henryk Ross Photographing For Identification Cards, Jewish Administration, Department Of Statistics

Henryk Ross Report

Corrado Vasquez 1 year ago

With a resolution that still no digital can beat ;)

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#17 1940: Baking Flat Bread

1940: Baking Flat Bread

Henryk Ross Report

lauren cole 1 year ago

Good timing as we come upon our holiday of Passover or Pesach, Beginning sundown April 10th.

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#18 1940-1944: Young Girl Among The Greenery

1940-1944: Young Girl Among The Greenery

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Pretty 💕

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#19 1940-1944: Woman Sitting In The Ruins Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street, Destroyed By The Germans In 1939

1940-1944: Woman Sitting In The Ruins Of The Synagogue On Wolborska Street, Destroyed By The Germans In 1939

Henryk Ross Report

Joihnson Smith 1 year ago

What we did and what we do.

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#20 1940-1944: A Sick Man On The Ground

1940-1944: A Sick Man On The Ground

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Poor thing. To be sick and to go through such horrors

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#21 1940-1944: A Group Of Women With Sacks And Pails, Walking Past Synagogue Ruins Heading For Deportation

1940-1944: A Group Of Women With Sacks And Pails, Walking Past Synagogue Ruins Heading For Deportation

Henryk Ross Report

Lynne Stankard 1 year ago

My heart breaks.

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#22 1940-1944: Children Looking Out The Window

1940-1944: Children Looking Out The Window

Henryk Ross Report

westwind92 1 year ago

Children give us hope and their innocence is beautiful.

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#23 1940-1944: Skulls And Bones On Ground

1940-1944: Skulls And Bones On Ground

Henryk Ross Report

Kipper Mcgee 1 year ago

Heres a weird fact. If you go to the places where they burned the jews, you will see the most beautiful gardens there. Its because the ashes of the people are rich in nutrients. Its so sad, but beautiful.

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#24 1940-1944: "Soup For Lunch” (Group Of Men Alongside Building Eating From Pails)

1940-1944: "Soup For Lunch” (Group Of Men Alongside Building Eating From Pails)

Henryk Ross Report

xanbex 1 year ago

Bare feet on two of these men...how cruel we humans can be........and still it goes on!

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#25 1942: Police With Woman Behind Barbed Wire At The Ghetto

1942: Police With Woman Behind Barbed Wire At The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

Pam Morton 1 year ago

I just want to hold her hand....let her know someone cares.

#26 1940-1944: A Nurse Feeding Children In An Orphanage

1940-1944: A Nurse Feeding Children In An Orphanage

Henryk Ross Report

Nga Kieu 1 year ago

poor children

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#27 1945: Three Men After Liberation By The Red Army

1945: Three Men After Liberation By The Red Army

Henryk Ross Report

Mark Robertson-Baker 1 year ago

The Red Army raped the women and children they were liberating. Really messed up. It makes this photo anything but pleasing to me.

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#28 1942: Evacuation Of The Sick

1942: Evacuation Of The Sick

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Nancy Grenda 1 year ago

Her face..

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#29 1940-1944: The Removal Of Feces In The Ghetto By Men And Women Workers

1940-1944: The Removal Of Feces In The Ghetto By Men And Women Workers

Henryk Ross Report

Maureen Brady 1 year ago

And they smile!! God bless them.

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#30 1940-1944: A Jewish Policeman With His Wife And Child In Marysin

1940-1944: A Jewish Policeman With His Wife And Child In Marysin

Henryk Ross Report

#31 1940-1944: Delivery Of Potatoes To The Ghetto

1940-1944: Delivery Of Potatoes To The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

Pam Morton 1 year ago

And yet he smiles...courage.

#32 1942: Men Hauling Cart For Bread Distribution

1942: Men Hauling Cart For Bread Distribution

Henryk Ross Report

#33 1940-1944: A Scarecrow With A Yellow Star Of David

1940-1944: A Scarecrow With A Yellow Star Of David

Henryk Ross Report

Joihnson Smith 1 year ago

Thought-provoking.

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#34 1940-1944: Body For Burial Tagged '54'

1940-1944: Body For Burial Tagged '54'

Henryk Ross Report

Hope Floats 1 year ago

No name or headstone.A human being reduced to a number...Just heartbreaking. ....May they all RIP.

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#35 1940-1944: Corpses And Body Parts In The Morgue

1940-1944: Corpses And Body Parts In The Morgue

Henryk Ross Report

Birchy Cat 1 year ago

Awful reality

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#36 1944: A Mass Deportation Of Ghetto Residents

1944: A Mass Deportation Of Ghetto Residents

Henryk Ross Report

Doncar 1 year ago

Considering how horrific and inhumane the Holocaust was, it is hard to understand how, just a few decades after, the state of Israel can do what it does to the Palestinian population. Even today no only they deport Palestinian families out of their land, but also bulldoze theirs homes. It seems to me that the the victims of the past have become the perpetrators. Very sad.

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#37 1940-1944: A Group Of Young Residents Standing In A Line

1940-1944: A Group Of Young Residents Standing In A Line

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Happy and carefree

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#38 1940-1944: Babies Lying On Floor Mat, Probably In The Hospital Nursery

1940-1944: Babies Lying On Floor Mat, Probably In The Hospital Nursery

Henryk Ross Report

Eu AH 1 year ago

Heartbreaking

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#39 1942–1944: Lodz Ghetto Police Escorting Residents For Deportation

1942–1944: Lodz Ghetto Police Escorting Residents For Deportation

Henryk Ross Report

Tamara Kosoris 1 year ago

I think the that the film being partially destroyed makes this an even better composition. Very apropos

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#40 1940-1944: Abandoned Body, Decomposing In Field

1940-1944: Abandoned Body, Decomposing In Field

Henryk Ross Report

ispeak catanese 1 year ago

This person had loved ones but they weren't there or able to take care of him after death. Knowing a bit about Jewish funeral practices, it's horrible to think that no one was able to do the right thing by him. It adds another layer of sadness to this.

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#41 1940-1944: Man And A Boy Looking Out The Window

1940-1944: Man And A Boy Looking Out The Window

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

So "normal" amongst all the horror.

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#42 1940-1944: Portrait Of Stefania Schoenberg Posing In The Window

1940-1944: Portrait Of Stefania Schoenberg Posing In The Window

Henryk Ross Report

Joihnson Smith 1 year ago

Someone with a name!

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#43 1940-1944: Two Young Women Observing The Bridge At Koscielyn Square, Crossing Zigerska Street

1940-1944: Two Young Women Observing The Bridge At Koscielyn Square, Crossing Zigerska Street

Henryk Ross Report

Alexandra Siwa 1 year ago

Plac Kościelny - Church Square. Sorry, i'm complaining about descriptions, but I'm living near of the places on photograpies, so i just can't leave it with mistakes :P

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#44 1940-1944: A Festive Occassion

1940-1944: A Festive Occassion

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Such a happy gathering.

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#45 1940-1944: A Performance Of 'shoemaker Of Marysin' In The Factory

1940-1944: A Performance Of 'shoemaker Of Marysin' In The Factory

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Keeping spirits up

#46 1940-1944: A Boy Walking In Front Of The Bridge Crossing Zigerska (The "Aryan") Street

1940-1944: A Boy Walking In Front Of The Bridge Crossing Zigerska (The "Aryan") Street

Henryk Ross Report

Alexandra Siwa 1 year ago

It's "Zgierska" from Zgierz City, there's a misspelling :)

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#47 1940-1944: Residents Sorting Belongings Left Behind After Deportation

1940-1944: Residents Sorting Belongings Left Behind After Deportation

Henryk Ross Report

Rhon 1 year ago

Imagine most of us today being able to bundle our belongings like this!

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#48 1940-1944: Children In Pond Searching For Items To Salvage

1940-1944: Children In Pond Searching For Items To Salvage

Henryk Ross Report

#49 1940-1944: Man Brushing Hide In The Leather Factory

1940-1944: Man Brushing Hide In The Leather Factory

Henryk Ross Report

ispeak catanese 1 year ago

He has experienced a lot of hunger. He shows a lot of temporal wasting.

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#50 1940-1944: Nurse Holding Baby Before Surgery

1940-1944: Nurse Holding Baby Before Surgery

Henryk Ross Report

Susanne Pachtmann 1 year ago

My guess is this child/these children didn't survive... Back than the technologies wasn't advanced enough. To fix might be the wrong word here. But it's understandable you used this verb.

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#51 1940-1944: Portrait Of Two Women

1940-1944: Portrait Of Two Women

Henryk Ross Report

Charlotte Rolle 1 year ago

For the moment they are together.

#52 1944: A Boy Walks Among A Crowd Of People Being Deported In Winter

1944: A Boy Walks Among A Crowd Of People Being Deported In Winter

Henryk Ross Report

Barbara Frey 1 year ago

Hopefully if they were being deported they had a chance.

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#53 1940-1944: Young Girls And Boys Working In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

1940-1944: Young Girls And Boys Working In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

#54 1940-1944: Woman Posing With A Mail Truck

1940-1944: Woman Posing With A Mail Truck

Henryk Ross Report

Targaryen 1 year ago

This must be after the liberation.

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#55 1940-1944: Youth Selling Goods On The Street

1940-1944: Youth Selling Goods On The Street

Henryk Ross Report

#56 1940-1944: A Woman Sewing In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

1940-1944: A Woman Sewing In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

Mariana Janošová 1 year ago

These jewish people were all so beautiful!

#57 1940-1944: Ghetto Buildings

1940-1944: Ghetto Buildings

Henryk Ross Report

Tracy Moorhead 1 year ago

All of the residents gone, what a sad photo.

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#58 1940-1944: Delegation After Liberation

1940-1944: Delegation After Liberation

Henryk Ross Report

#59 1940-1944: A Corpse Is Taken Away

1940-1944: A Corpse Is Taken Away

Henryk Ross Report

Tracey Braithwaite 1 year ago

REST IN PEACE

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#60 1942: Ghetto Residents Held For Deportation

1942: Ghetto Residents Held For Deportation

Henryk Ross Report

Tracy Moorhead 1 year ago

I can't imagine the heartache of watching your family being separated and taken away.

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#61 1940-1944: In The Bakery

1940-1944: In The Bakery

Henryk Ross Report

Cathy Wilson 1 week ago

Obviously a propaganda photo. All the same, these men were working to literally make the bread of life available.

#62 1940-1944: Man Working In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

1940-1944: Man Working In A Workshop ("Ressort") In The Ghetto

Henryk Ross Report

Ann Piquiet 1 year ago

They went to work...they held out hope.....even though they were starved, beaten and tortured...some human beings are the most evil creatures to walk or have walked on this Earth

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#63 1940-1944: Residents Sitting On The Street

1940-1944: Residents Sitting On The Street

Henryk Ross Report

Sherry Straus 1 year ago

Heartbreaking, sad, moving! I cannot understand mans hate for others, so much so they kill, torture and starve so many. I would die before I ever allowed such a thing to happen in my country!!!

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#64 1940-1944: Workers Breaking Rocks

1940-1944: Workers Breaking Rocks

Henryk Ross Report

Ruta Draskinyte 1 year ago

reminds me the movie "Forest of the Gods" 2005. If anyone is interested in movies about nazi camps and the life in it, you should watch it. it is about Lithuanians being deported to german concentration camps.

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#65 1940-1944: Male Factory Worker Unloading Mattress Springs

1940-1944: Male Factory Worker Unloading Mattress Springs

Henryk Ross Report

#66 1940-1944: Men Pulling Road Press

1940-1944: Men Pulling Road Press

Henryk Ross Report

Lara-Andrea Beck 1 year ago

They have been treated worse than animals up for slaughter. I am so ashamed about the past of my country. It makes me absolutely sick! But this MUST be remembered!! I would like to believe that this will not happen again up to the point when everyone has forgotten about the tragedy. So these pictures need to go around the world for everyone to see them. This must never be forgotten!!!

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