When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, they created walled-off ghettos in the larger cities to concentrate and imprison the Jewish residents.
Henryk Ross worked as a news and sports photographer in the city of Lodz. Once in the city’s ghetto, he was employed by the Department of Statistics to shoot identification photos and propaganda images of the factories which used Jewish slave labor to produce supplies for the German Army.
When not on the job, he documented the horrific realities of the ghetto, at tremendous personal risk. Peeking his lens through holes in walls, cracked doorways, and the folds of his overcoat, he captured scenes of starvation, disease, and executions.
As tens of thousands of Jews were deported from the ghetto to the death camps at Chelmno nad Nerem and Auschwitz, he kept shooting.
He also captured tiny sparks of joy — plays, concerts, celebrations, weddings — each one an act of resistance against a dehumanizing regime.