Photographic Representations of the Holocaust in Lithuanian Historiography: General Features and Problematic Aspects

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis




Holocaust, photography, Lithuanian history, historiography


The research presented in the article explores the features and use of historical photographs chosen to represent the Holocaust in Lithu- ania in Lithuanian and international historiography, including popular lit- erature. Referring to the theoretical literature on Holocaust photography, critical areas of Holocaust photography are outlined, and images found in the historiography of the Lithuanian Holocaust are systemized according- ly. Secondly, by analyzing different categories (the photographer’s identity, topic, event, subject, location, caption type, archival source), photographs from Lithuanian and international publications are compared. Finally, the main critical aspects of the publication of photographs representing the Holocaust in Lithuania are identified and discussed, paying special atten- tion to the issues of their iconic properties and authenticity.

The results of the presented research show an obvious necessity for historical research on the circumstances of the emergence of Holocaust photography and its dissemination in later times. A superficial approach to historical photographic sources is evident from abstract, laconic and some- times even erroneous captions, the failure to indicate the original circum- stances of the appearance of specific images, omitting the photographer’s name or the archival source. Other aspects of photographic representations of the Holocaust worth mentioning are a strong countertrend to the prevail- ing perpetrator perspective, the predominance of images from Kaunas, and the prominence of the topic of ghetto life. This situation is mostly a result of the wide circulation of photographs taken by the Kaunas ghetto inmate Zvi Hirsh Kadushin (1910–1997) both in Lithuania and abroad.

Pilot rather than conclusive, the present research aims to map out the main topics for the future research on Holocaust photography in Lithuania.



How to Cite

Sederevičiūtė, Šarūnė. (2021). Photographic Representations of the Holocaust in Lithuanian Historiography: General Features and Problematic Aspects: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (99), 59–98.