Jews of Poland in France: identities and representations under the family photographic corpus
A family photograph can surprise sometimes, more often moves and above all teaches. Not being limited to only family and emotional aspects it is often rich in representations. The themes that form its expression, that shape its identity represent a significant part of the fields of the sciences of man and society: history, geography, sociology, economics, social anthropology or ethnography.
For Jewish families living in France immigration and the implementation of the Nazi extermination process operated during WWII forged a fate common to many. To the former immigrants this photographic heritage reflects the image of their uprooting, an accumulation of environmental, societal and cultural breaking points that alter its readability. To this dimension of immigration shared by a great number of Jewish families overlays for others that inherent in the policy of extermination carried out under Nazi occupation, multiplying thereby fractures, breaks and half erased traces. From this both geographical and cultural uprooting and this will to annihilation the iconographic family corpus has - in its own way - preserved traces. These observations lead me to a backup of the Jewish family photographic-heritage project more than three decades ago.
The project articulated around an associative approach, "Jewish Memories - photographic heritage". It intends to collect, gather and reproduce these iconographic “from the inside” collections and show the multiple representations of Jewish life on a daily basis: worship, dress, portraits, family meetings, youth movements, small trades, fraternal benefit societies, participation in the two World Wars, not to mention the elements of photographic and documentary inherent to the Shoah. More than 12,000 prints illustrating both the countries of departure and the places of shelter constitute the first architecture of the project. Two singularities: the first one lies in the shadow of the Holocaust through a significant part of the corpus; the second one relates to the impact of the reported Holocaust - a comparative perspective-, group photographs taken during the interwar period in Poland and France. The first review correlates to the question "who hasbeen rescued?" in resonance with more than 3 000 000 known victims compared to the 8% survivors. As the second the questioning is reversed: "who has been deported?" on the 76,000 deportees of France on a Jewish population estimated to 330 000 on the eve of WWII.
||Louis Armstrong A & B|