Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Liberation of Buchenwald, April 1945

Of the indispensable photographs taken during the Second World War, Margaret Bourke-White’s image of survivors at Buchenwald in April 1945 — “staring out at their Allied rescuers,” as LIFE magazine put it, “like so many living corpses” — remains among the most haunting. The faces of the men, young and old, staring from behind the wire, “barely able to believe that they would be delivered from a Nazi camp where the only deliverance had been death,” attest with an awful eloquence to the depths of human depravity and, maybe even more powerfully, to the measureless lineaments of human endurance.

What few people recall about Bourke-White’s survivors-at-the-wire image, however, is that it did not even appear in LIFE until 15 years after it was made, when it was published alongside other photographic touchstones in the magazine’s December 26, 1960, special double-issue, “25 Years of LIFE.”
















1 comment:

  1. I was thinking that everyone above a certain age should see these photos, and everyone below that age should be protected from the horror of seeing them. I do not know where that line might be drawn. Maybe 10 or 12, I'm not sure. I was born just 6 years after these were taken, it makes me so sad. What we do to each other.

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