Photograph of an inmate at the Buchenwald concentration camp at the time of the camp's liberation by the Allies. Photographed by the Jewish French war photographer and journalist Eric Schwab who was among the first to arrive at the death camps after the war. According to Schwab's testimony, the inmate he photographed, who was in the final stages of dysentery disease, passed away approximately 10 minutes after being photographed. Buchenwald, April 1945. Signed on the back with the stamp of the "Photography Service of the French Republic".
The Jewish French war photographer and journalist Eric Schwab [1910-1977] was the son of a French man and German woman who were persecuted and expelled during the Nazi regime due to their Jewish origin. He arrived in Paris in the 1930s, where he worked as a photographer and correspondent. In 1939 Schwab was drafted for military service. After the Battle of Dunkirk in June 1940, Schwab was imprisoned by the Germans but managed to escape after a few weeks while on a train overloaded with prisoners on his way to Germany, returning to Paris and continuing his work as a photographer. Schwab was among the first photographers to join the French Press Agency (AFP) in 1944. Together with American journalist and writer Meyer Levin, he traveled to Germany in April 1945, immediately after liberation from Nazi rule, and was among the first press photographers to arrive at the camps. Schwab photographed the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. When they arrived at the Theresienstadt concentration camp Schwab discovered that his Jewish mother, whom he believed had perished, had survived the Holocaust and was reunited with her. Schwab's most famous photograph is the photograph before us, known as the "Dying Dysentery Man from Buchenwald". Despite surviving the camp horrors until the moment of liberation, the man passed away just minutes after being photographed. After the war, several of Schwab's photographs and negatives were lost. Fortunately, Meyer Levin's son Michel managed to locate many of his father's photographs. Schwab's daughter Coca, who worked as an assistant for world pop singer David Bowie, showed him the photograph on one occasion, and he chose it as photo of the century in 1998 for the German magazine Die Zeit ("The Time"), when Bowie said "To me, this picture represents the violence and destruction that reigned over large parts of the 20th century. The terrible tragedy of a man who regained his freedom only to die moments later breaks my heart".
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23x17 cm. Very good condition.