Exile at Home: Jewish Amateur Photography under National Socialism, 1933-1939

Ofer Ashkenazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Between 1933 and 1939, Ludwig Simon and his family avidly photographed their daily life. At first glance, their photo albums contain undistinguishable documentation of conventional family routines, including leisure activities at home, encounters with relatives, and vacations away from the city. Yet a closer look shows that many of the photographs in this collection can be read as contemplative responses to the intensifying exclusion of Jews in the Third Reich. The article focuses on photographs that were (repeatedly) taken in two major locations: on the Alps, during vacations, and by the family home in Bingen am Rhein, which Ludwig left when he moved to Berlin in the 1920s. I argue that these photographs manifest an enduring endeavour to reflect critically on the tensions between Jewish belonging and estrangement in the new Germany. Constantly engaged in a dialogue with the (private and public) visual memory of the time - from restaging photographs of previous years to appropriating the visual iconography of German nationalism - the Simon family photographers recurrently negotiated the perspective of the outcasts at home. In analysing these strategies of photography, and of the arrangement of individual photographs within the collection, this article reads them within the paradigm of exile photography. As the Simon family collection demonstrates, the extension of this paradigm to cases of 'exile-at-home' enriches our understanding of the German-Jewish experience under National Socialist rule.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)115-140
Number of pages26
JournalLeo Baeck Institute Yearbook
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.

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