Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph – A Conversation with Professor David Shneer

In January 1942, Soviet press photographers came upon a scene like none they had ever documented. That day, they took pictures of the first liberation of a site of a German mass atrocity: a location where an estimated 7,000 Jews and others had been executed at an anti-tank trench near Kerch on the Crimean peninsula. Dmitri Baltermants, a photojournalist working for the Soviet newspaper Izvestiia, took photos that day that would have a long life in shaping the image of Nazi genocide in and against the Soviet Union. Presenting never-before-seen photographs, Professor David Shneer will discuss his newly published book, “Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph” (Oxford, 2020), and show how Baltermants used the image of a grieving woman to render this gruesome mass atrocity into a transcendentally human tragedy.

Grief The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph

Thursday, August 20, 2020  

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M. (MDT – Mountain Daylight Time)
Zoom Webinar


Events are free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond.

For additional information, contact

Professor David Shneer

David Shneer is Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair of Jewish History, Professor of Jewish Studies and History at the University of Colorado Boulder and is the inaugural faculty director of CU Boulder’s Post Holocaust American Judaism Archive.

Professor Shneer received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. His first book, “Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture” (Cambridge, 2005) was named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His second book, “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust“(Rutgers, 2011)—about how Soviet Jewish photographers documented the earliest stages of the Holocaust—won the 2013 Jordan Schnitzer Prize from the Association for Jewish Studies. Shneer’s newly published third book called “Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph” (Oxford, 2020) explores the history of a single image from the moment the Soviet photographer encountered the first liberated Holocaust killing site in January 1942 in the southern Russian city of Kerch.

From food and social justice to Holocaust memory and American history, the University of Colorado Boulder Peak to Peak series brings CU Boulder scholars into conversation with audiences and communities across Colorado and beyond.  Exploring influential historical figures and events and enduring human questions, these online learning opportunities are offered through the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies in partnership with the Office for Outreach and Engagement Arts and Humanities Initiative and communities and organizations across Colorado including: Corazón de Trinidad Creative DistrictDurango Creative DistrictGarfield Public Library DistrictTrinidad Carnegie Public Library, Western Colorado University, Aspen Jewish CongregationBoulder JCC, and Temple Aaron in Trinidad.

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