Roman Vishniac was an accomplished Russian-American photographer, biologist, art collector and historian whose work is currently on view in the exhibition Roman Vishniac: Selections from The Vanished World. The Norton Museum recently acquired Vishniac’s portfolio The Vanished World, which is one of the only pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Central and Eastern Europe during the period just prior to the Holocaust: the mid to late 1930s. The exhibition is comprised of twelve images that show daily life in the urban ghettos and small farming communities (shtetls), and document the economic and social restrictions being placed upon Jewish people while the photographer was living in Germany in the 1930s. Vishniac took over 16,000 photographs, hoping to salvage a memory of the people and culture that he knew Hitler was on a mission to eradicate. A trained scientist unable to save the lives of his people, Vishniac set out to save their memory. Only 2,000 images are known to have survived. Vishniac hoped that these images would enable others “to envision a time and place that are worthy of remembrance.”

Featured on WXEL radio, here is an MP3 of the broadcast interview. Visit for more information.

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One Response

  1. Peguin

    Vishniac allowed us the opportunity to see how Jews lived before the holocaust through pictures, it is such a wonderful addition to have pictures for remembrance and record.