Flashes of Memory
Photography During the Holocaust

24.03.2023 to 28.01.2024
Museum für Fotografie

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, in cooperation with the Kunstbibliothek of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Freundeskreis Yad Vashem e. V., presents the highly acclaimed exhibition Flashes of Memory. Photography During the Holocaust at Berlin’s Museum für Fotografie (Museum of Photography). Featured for the first time in Germany, the exhibition presents a critical account of visual documentation – photographs and films – created during the Holocaust by German citizens and Nazi propaganda photographers, by Jewish photographers in the ghettos, and by members of the Allied forces during liberation. The exhibition focuses a spotlight on the circumstances under which each photograph was captured. It shows how the worldview of the documenting photographer – both official and private – influenced the image captured, while emphasizing the different and unique viewpoints of the Jewish photographers as direct victims of the Holocaust.

For the German Nazi regime, photography and film played a crucial role in manipulating and mobilizing the masses. These forms of propaganda were an elementary part of the National Socialist ideology. Conversely, the work of Jewish photographers during the Holocaust was part of their struggle for survival – depicting the living conditions of those incarcerated in ghettos. For the Jews, unsanctioned photography in the ghetto was punishable by death. Nonetheless, it was critical for them to document the atrocities so that the truth could one day be transmitted to all of humanity.

Upon liberation, the Allies recognized the need to document what they discovered in order to, combat future denial of these atrocities, justify their enormous losses on the battlefield, and gather evidence for upcoming war crimes trials. They were guided by the desire to educate the German population in the "spirit of democratic values."

Flashes of Memory. Photography During the Holocaust displays photographs, films and artifacts, including cameras from archives and museums in the US, Europe and Israel. The exhibition curated by Director of the Yad Vashem Museums Division Vivian Uria was first opened in Jerusalem in January 2018 for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


The exhibition in Germany also includes an outreach educational program (PDF, 399 KB) funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Sal. Oppenheim Foundation, and the Volkswagen Group.


An English-language as well as a German-language edition of the exhibition catalogue is available at the price of 38 € in the bookstore of the Museum für Fotografie.

The exhibition is taking place as part of EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography.

A special exhibition by Yad Vashem, in cooperation with the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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