Expert to Discuss Lodz Ghetto Photographer

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 8, 2009) – Dr. Gideon Greif, a distinguished Israeli historian, author and renowned expert on the Holocaust with specialty on the extermination camps and Auschwitz, returns to Houston this September for a free public lecture highlighting the photographic work of Mendel Grossman.

Greif will speak on the topic “The Lost Negatives: The Story of Photographer Mendel Grossman, Lodz Ghetto Documentalist” on Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. The event is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is requested. Visit www.hmh.org/register.asp to RSVP online. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 104 or e-mail events@hmh.org.

Grossman (1913-1945) was born in Lodz into an Hasidic family and was already a famous photographer before World War II. Forced to live in the Lodz ghetto, Grossman used his privileges as a photographer for the ghetto administration to covertly take thousands of pictures documenting life in the ghetto. Being aware of the historical importance of the photographs, he found a hiding place for them in his apartment in the ghetto.

Powerful images selected from those that still exist in Israeli museum collections show the Jewish experience during 1944. Children harnessed by ropes dragging a heavy cart; adults and children, identified as Jews by stars of David sewn onto their clothing, huddle together with bundles of possessions. Street scenes depict people behind fences, sharing food, working, laughing together. One poignant image shows a woman and several children separated by a fence from another child.

Grossman did not survive the Holocaust and died on a death march just before the end of the war. Most of the negatives were saved and taken to Israel, but, unfortunately, a large number were lost during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Those photographs that were saved have been published in various books.

Greif has served as a researcher at Yad Vashem, Israel, the principal institution in the world studying the history of the Holocaust. He also served as visiting professor at The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami.

Since 1991, he has been responsible for the planning and development of exhibitions, films and educational resources at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. Since 1995, he also worked for the Survivors of the Shoah in Los Angeles, California. Since 1999, he has served as a member of the American international advisory council of interviewers at the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation in New York.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.

For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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