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Through Amateur EyesFilm and Photography in Nazi Germany$
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Frances Guerin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670062

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670062.001.0001

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The Privilege and Possibility of Color: The Case of Walter Genewein’s Photographs

The Privilege and Possibility of Color: The Case of Walter Genewein’s Photographs

(p.93) 3 The Privilege and Possibility of Color: The Case of Walter Genewein’s Photographs
Through Amateur Eyes

Frances Guerin

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores the collection of more than six hundred color photographic transparencies taken by Walter Genewein, chief accountant of the Lodz Ghetto. It discusses the element of documentary realism visible in Genewein’s photos, which accurately depict the routine of everyday life in Lodz Ghetto during World War II, specifically working conditions in the workshops. It argues that Genewein’s brand of realism also created the potential for the images to be appropriated in memorial discourses on the agony of the ghetto and the injustices that occurred before, during, and following liquidation. It explains Genewein’s distance and absence from the realist images he took, ordered, and archived, and interprets this distance as a key element to the images’ role as potential agents in the processes of witnessing the war crimes committed in, around, and behind them. It also explores the contribution made by Genewein’s transparencies to the development of color photography.

Keywords:   photographic transparencies, World War II, Walter Genewein, documentary realism, war crimes, color photography, Lodz Ghetto

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