Director: Laura Bialis Run Time: 93 min. Release Year: 2023
Stay following the film for a talk back with Barry Trachtenberg, Professor, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Wake Forest University
Roman Vishniac is best known for having traversed Eastern Europe from 1935 through 1938, on assignment to photograph Jewish life. Less than a decade later these communities would be wiped out and Vishniac’s iconic photographs would provide the last visual records of an entire world.
Through his photographs, we see Jewish life – in Eastern European shtetls and in Weimar-era Berlin – and witness the Nazi rise to power. After the war, his documentation continued with photographs of Berlin in ruins and Jewish children in Displaced Persons camps.
Vishniac was also a respected scientist who made considerable contributions in the field of microscopic photography. His “Living Biology” series, funded by the National Science Foundation, were some of the first films depicting life through a microscope and became a staple in the 1960s and 1970s in classrooms across the United States. His pioneering microscopy transformed the nature of science photography.