Thursday, April 9, 2015

Haunting images of the Jews of Budapest in October 1944.

Posting document after document relaying the tragedy that struck Hungarian Jewry after the Arrow Cross Fascists seized power in October 1944 was one way the historian attempts to piece together the narrative and provide interpretation of events.  Angelo Rotta's detailed and accurate descriptions of the events engulfing the Jews of Budapest provide a powerful entree into the unfolding tragedy.

Another source of the tragedy that I have only come across recently are the photographic records made by official German photographers, officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Propaganda.  The German Federal Archive has engaged in a joint project with Wikipedia and made available thousands of images from the war years. On 6 December 2008 the archive made over 100,000 images available via Wikimedia Commons.

It is not hard to imagine that Angelo Rotta had scenes like this in mind when he sent his reports to Rome.  Images such as this have appeared before, but seeing it in the context of the dozens of photos taken it is even more evocative. It is the face of the little girl in the lower right and the anger in the face of the young guard on the left that caught my eye and reminded me yet again, that history is the story of human beings.


About the photographer, Faupel, we know next to nothing.  The collection can be viewed here.

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