"""WHEN THEY CAME TO TAKE MY FATHER"": Voices of the Holocaust" by Mark Seliger

"""WHEN THEY CAME TO TAKE MY FATHER"": Voices of the Holocaust"

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Seliger is a gutsy photographer. The startling initial image here is a harmonious alignment of four arms, unabashedly wrinkled and covered with age spots--and, more unusual, unabashedly displaying the numbers tattooed by the Nazis in their meticulous mania for keeping track of their victims. Seliger's subjects are gutsy, too--survivors of concentration camps and ghetto battles, refugees who fled to Shanghai and Switzerland, and a woman who was a subject of Mengele's ""experiments."" Their stories are at once familiar and shockingly new: a young girl who hid in the latrine at Auschwitz to sing Sabbath songs on Friday nights; a couple whose 13-month-old daughter was allowed to stay with them in Bergen-Belsen: ""The first word my daughter Dorien spoke was 'Achtung,' "" says Rita Grunbaum. But most remarkable here are Seliger's photos: unsentimental portraits--some Avedon-style close-ups on white backgrounds; others more intimate and personal. Grunbaum and her daughter embrace, their placid, nearly identical features revealing nothing of their past, while Robert Melson's noble face makes it clear how he survived by posing as the son of a Polish countess. A bold use of typography complements these images, making this one of the most unusual memory books of the Holocaust. There is an introduction by Robert Jay Lifton.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Arcade