Campus Commentary- David Shneer

At the David Shneer lecture last Thursday afternoon, I learned some more interesting things about his time and his studies with Soviet Jew photography. I wrote down a couple quotes and anecdotes that really stuck out to me during the lecture.

  • I knew that Jews had to give up their glasses once they arrived in the concentration camps, but it never resonated with me that they really could not SEE. Some of them could not see properly until they were out of the camps, or if they were killed in the camps, could not properly see for the rest of their lives. Some of those in the camps never had a clear vision of what they were going through.
  • “Those sentenced to death were forced to dig their own graves.” Could you imagine digging your own grave? Carving the hole where your body will lay for the rest of eternity? That is possibly one of the scariest things one could ever think of. 
  • Shneer talked about grief photographs, and how they shaped a lot of people’s visions and perceptions of the war.
  • During the question section, fellow humster Alec Stimac asked a question about what David Shneer thought about this certain Susan Sontag quote, “There is no war without photography.” I can so see how this quote can be true (even though there were wars before photography was invented- yet there are tons of pieces of art which depict the horrors of war) and how this could shape a lot of his research.

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