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The Eye as Witness: Recording the Holocaust

January 1, 202010:15 amSeptember 28, 2023 10:17 am

Past Exhibition January 2020- March 2020

Our latest exhibition The Eye as Witness: Recording the Holocaust, from National Holocaust Centre and Museum and University of Nottingham, examines the photographs taken during the Holocaust and asks the question; through who’s eyes are we seeing the past?

9th January 2020 – 27th March 2020 at The Peace Museum. 

Opening event on Thursday 9th January from 5.30 – 7pm. Hear a talk from National Holocaust Centre from 6pm and have a first look around the exhibition. Refreshments provided. 

Few people today would not recognise a photograph of Hitler. Everyone has seen at least one image showing victims of Nazi racial persecution: men, women and children, referencing the horrific events which took place throughout the Holocaust.

Thousands of staged images of Hitler that were the work of professional Nazi propaganda photographers as well as photos of Nazi ghettos and concentration camps. Viewed with modern eyes, photos designed to make Holocaust victims appear sub-human may today inspire pity rather than disgust. But they do little justice to the dignity of these victims; nor do they help us realise that the people persecuted and murdered had often lived perfectly ‘everyday’ lives only days before the Nazis came to power.

The exhibition turns our attention to photos that are rarely seen today: secret photos taken by Jewish people and members of the anti-Nazi resistance, who, at great risk to themselves, used the camera to record the story as they saw it.

Eye as a Witness takes a fresh look at this problem. Photos, it suggests, are historical sources created with particular agendas in mind and we need to examine them critically if we are to learn any lessons from them.

Written by Ezra Kingston