Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
Buy a signed copy of the book!
a signed
copy of the
book!
Get a 17 page
excerpt when you
join our mailing list!

Follow me on
Follow Jeanne Simonoff on TwitterFollow Jeanne Simonoff on Facebook
A Jewish Childhood – The Mexican Suitcase-Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives-Musee d’art d’histoire de Judiasme
Sunday, 30 June 2013 19:05

I find myself again at the entry to the Jewish Museum. My bag is scanned and I am okay to go in. I begin my journey here. My history lesson: Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War negatives, lost since 1939 exhibited in Paris for the first time. This work also covers the work of Chim (David Seymour) and Gerda Taro. This work is so important because it “demonstrates how the work of three key photojournalists laid the foundation for modern war photography.” Click here: Rediscovered Spanish Civil War negatives - a set on Flickr

Some of these photographs, those by Gerda Pohonylle, who changed her name to Taro, David Seymour, known as Chim, and Robert Capa originally named Endre Erno Friedmann. All three can be assumed to be Jewish which during these years was a dangerous thing.

Gerda Taro was the first female photographer to be killed while reporting on the War.

There is a sense of urgency and at the same time a sense that life just continues without a car. Women and men get up and go into their day while around them destruction takes down walls, buildings and monuments.

I remember that Hemingway was a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance and there he was in a photo. The issue here was that of fascism. The war was instigated by a military coup led by General Francisco Franco. The leftists felt that with the support from Germany and Italy.Enter the leftist intellectuals and artists including Capa, Chim and Taro who were committed to the antifascist struggle.

Many Americans from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade fought in this war on principle. Democracy must remain in Spain.

Gerda Taro gave her life in the fight for freedom. In a Telegram dated July 30, 1937: “Comrade Gerda Taro assisted us with her presence on three of our toughest battles. STOP noted in Telegram text. We are deeply saddened by her death, which happened on the front lines of the anti-Fascist struggle and send to the comrades in France our most sincere condolences. The soldiers, officers and commissioners of the 39th Division.”

As I leave this exhibit, I am bereft. Would I go and fight in another country’s war. Would you?

As I walk away from the photographs I walk toward the outside wall of the apartment house, which now serves as the Jewish Museum. The wall is inscribed with names of the unreturned. Original context changes meaning. If a photograph becomes reality, try it with prints or words. Try it with the names etched in this wall. Words and photography can be manipulated to tell their truths, which may not be the truth in a historical setting.

I keep wondering about all of this, the photos, the names of the disappeared, a story of one war after another.

In the notes for this exhibit, it takes history a step further stating that “The Spanish Civil War, a conflict that changed the course of European History.”

This war and the photos newly discovered serve to stand as a testament to the need for peace much as Picasso’s GUERNICA illustrates the necessities of war and value of human life.

I want to thank you for your continued support of my Jewish Childhood Blog. I will continue to document this trip to Paris, hopefully, to give you a sense of my personalParis.