Strategies of exile photography: Helmar lerski and hans casparius in palestine

Ofer Ashkenazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The two German-Jewish photographers and veterans of the Weimar film industry, Helmar Lerski and Hans Casparius, went into exile to Mandate Palestine in the mid-1930s and produced photographs that propagated the Zionist enterprise. This essay suggests that the apparent “Zionist” works should be analyzed as models or experiments with different strategies of exile photography. Informed by the major trends in the visual arts of the late Weimar years, they sought to develop a new aesthetics to correspond with their new experiences in exile. Their efforts resulted in two different approaches to photography, and each negotiated the emotional and ideological dispositions of the exiled observer in different terms. The differences notwithstanding, I argue that in these images they sought to identify with and criticize the social reality in both Weimar Germany and in Jewish Palestine. As a result, their works integrated criticism and doubts into mainstream Zionist culture.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBack to the Future
Subtitle of host publicationTradition and Innovation in German Studies
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781788743044
ISBN (Print)9781788743037
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Peter Lang AG 2018.


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