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Roman Vishniac Collection

Film Collection
Collection Summary
Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) was a biologist by training, having earned a doctorate in zoology and a medical degree from universities in Moscow and a doctorate in Oriental art from the University of Berlin. From 1935 to 1938, Vishniac explored on foot the cities and villages of Eastern Europe, recording life in the Jewish shtetls of Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania, communities that at that point in time seemed threatened by modernization as much as by violence and extermination. Using a hidden camera and working under difficult circumstances that included evading the police and the Nazis, he was able to take thousands of photographs. Before he finished the tour, he had been jailed eleven times and placed in a concentration camp in Vichy France. Vishniac also captured an original black and white film of ORT training activities in Marseilles, France in 1939. Scenes include men tilling soil in fields and holding drawing tools in a classroom. ORT stands for Obschestvo Remeslenovo i. Zemledelcheskovo Trouda [Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor]. Russian authorities started the group in 1880 to fund and assist Jewish trade schools and establish new colonies, agricultural schools and model farms in order to help lift Russia's five million Jews out of lives of crushing poverty. Today, ORT continues to train and educate Jews worldwide, provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with complexities and uncertainties of their environment, and foster economic self-sufficiency, mobility, and a sense of identity.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of the Estate of Mara Vishniac Kohn and International Center
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Browse 5 Items In This Collection

Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor (ORT) training at Marseilles

Film | RG Number: RG-60.4644 | Film ID: 2843

Event:  1939

Berlin street scene

Film | RG Number: RG-60.4657 | Film ID: 2849

Event:  1920s?

Edith Ernst on vacation

Film | RG Number: RG-60.4658 | Film ID: 2849

Event:  1920s?

Vishniac family in the snow

Film | RG Number: RG-60.4659 | Film ID: 2849

Event:  mid-late 1920s

Vishniac children

Film | RG Number: RG-60.4660 | Film ID: 2849

Event:  1926-1927
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:57:33
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