Art gallery features WWII photos of Jewish partisans

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published September 23, 2014

 Faye Schulman’s photographs of Jewish partisan life from 1942-44 will be on display at the Janice Charach Gallery Oct. 19-Dec. 14.

Faye Schulman’s photographs of Jewish partisan life from 1942-44 will be on display at the Janice Charach Gallery Oct. 19-Dec. 14.

Photo by Faye Schulman

Advertisement

WEST BLOOMFIELD — In conjunction with the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield will feature “Pictures of Resistance: The Wartime Photographs of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman” Oct. 19-Dec. 14.

Schulman, who currently lives in Toronto, Canada, documented partisan life from 1942-44 in what is now the Republic of Belarus, according to a press release.

“This show is really cool because it touches definitely on the Holocaust and Jewish rights, but it also touches on women’s rights and feminism,” said Kelly Kaatz, gallery director. “No one had a camera during this movement, so there’s not many photos documenting this, except for what the Nazis documented.” 

Schulman is the only known Jewish partisan photographer who photographed the Jewish partisan resistance in Eastern Europe during World War II. According to Kaatz, when German troops occupied eastern Poland in 1941, Schulman, the only remaining photographer in the area, was spared from concentration camps and permitted to take photos. Schulman eventually escaped and joined a Russian partisan brigade in the forests along the Polish-Russian border.

“I want people to know that there was resistance. Jews did not go like sheep to the slaughter. I was a photographer. I have pictures. I have proof,” Schulman said in a press release.

Kaatz said that Schulman was permitted to join the Molotava Brigade because she was a photographer, and to be a woman, Jewish and accepted into the partisan movement was an “amazing thing.” She was a fighter, a nurse and a  photographer prior to being liberated by the Soviet Army in 1944.

“When the Jews had the slightest opportunity to escape, to join the partisans, to fight the murderers, they did. I was a Jewish partisan. I lived 2 1/2 years in the woods in Nazi-occupied territory. There were thousands of Jewish boys and girls who were also partisans. Most of them lost their lives heroically fighting the enemy,” Schulman said in a press release.

The exhibit, which consists of 36 photos, features photos of partisans in the woods, in hospitals and at funerals. Because Schulman didn’t have access to a dark room, she used a blanket on the ground to develop the photos, Kaatz said.

The exhibit will also feature the recent work of Farmington Hills resident and Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Dane Gussin. Gussin’s photographs will be on display in the upper level of the gallery.

Gussin said that 95 percent of his exhibit is nature photographs, including autumn leaves, fall sunsets, the Franklin Cider Mill and animals. He plans on having 30-40 shots on display.

“It’s going to be a potpourri of different nature stuff,” he said. “It’s going to be stuff from all over the world, not just Michigan.”

Gussin has been a photographer since 1958 and won an Emmy award this year for his film, “An Interview with Stephen Goldman.”

“Art is something where it’s in your brain. It’s like a blank piece of paper where you make it into something. Photography, to me, is a totally different type of genre. It’s capturing a moment for people later on to relive. … If it doesn’t tell a story, what is it? A picture.”

The gallery will open Oct. 19 with a lecture by partisan survivor Miriam Brysk. Brysk, an Ann Arbor resident, will speak noon-1 p.m., and the exhibit will be open 1-4 p.m. Holocaust Memorial Center docents will be in attendance for questions.

“Pictures of Resistance: The Wartime Photographs of Jewish Partisan Faye Schulman” will be open noon-4 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays. For more information, contact Kelly Kaatz at (248) 432-5579.

For more information about The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, visit www.jewishpartisans.org.

Advertisement