6: Photographs of JAFC members.
This resource consists of the following photographs:
- Jewish cultural figures who would become members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee signing an appeal to world Jewry to support the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany, Moscow, 1941. (Front row, left to right) Dovid Bergelson, Solomon Mikhoels, and Ilya Ehrenburg; (second row) David Oistrakh, Yitskhok Nusinov, Yakov Zak, Boris Iofan, Benjamin Zuskin, Aleksandr Tyshler, Shmuel Halkin.
- Itzik Fefer, Paul Robeson, and Solomon Mikhoels, 1943.
- Members of the JAFC, 1946.
- Last photo of Solomon Mikhoels, 1948.
- Perets Markish speaking at Mikhoels’s memorial, 1948.
These photographs can be used to put faces to the names and events discussed in the other resources in this kit. The staged photographs of the JAFC members—the group photos and the photo of Mikhoels, Fefer, and Robeson—were clearly meant to be used for publicity and propaganda when they were taken. And yet by 1952, they could just as well have been used as evidence against JAFC members, demonstrating for example Markish’s role in the committee, which he downplayed in his court testimony.
Suggested Activity: Ask students to describe the photos from the perspective of the time when they were taken, the time of the trial, and looking back from today. Is it challenging to understand the hopefulness that might have accompanied the earlier photos when they were taken, given how things turned out? What value is there in trying to understand that perspective?
Sources: Photograph of Jewish cultural figures signing an appeal to world Jewry, Moscow, 1941. Courtesy of the Russian State Film and Photo Archives, www.RussianArchives.com.
Photograph of Itzik Fefer, Paul Robeson, and Solomon Mikhoels, 1943, courtesy of the Jewish Public Library Archives, Montreal.
Photograph of members of the JAFC, 1946, courtesy of the Central Archive of the Federal Security Service, Moscow.
Last photograph of Solomon Mikhoels, 1948, used by permission of YIVO, the Institute for Jewish Research.
Photograph of Perets Markish speaking at Mikhoels’s memorial, 1948, courtesy of the Central Archive of the Federal Security Service, Moscow.