Murder pictures


Several years ago a book showed up on my doorstep. It has become a book that I can never fully enter into yet can never definitively put down; one might say this book and I have a troubled relationship. Its title is In the Ghetto of Warsaw, and it consists of 137 black-and-white photos, printed on exactly the kind of heavy matte paper I like, taken by a 43-year-old German sergeant named Heinrich Jöst. In September of 1941, Jöst spent a day off—his birthday—strolling through the ghetto photographing its abject, emaciated, typhoid-ridden prisoners. (He canceled his birthday party that night.) I was mesmerized—and repelled, and grieved—by these photos, and I still am. I was furious that Jöst had taken them, and grateful that he had.

more at the Boston Review here.