“The Soviet Union through Jewish Eyes,” public event commentary, Nikolaos Paramyhtiotis

The lecture ‘The Soviet Union through Jewish Eyes” conducted on the 20th of February 2020 provided me a truly interesting insight into the Jewish prosecutions within the Soviet Union and the power that photography possesses to distort reality. A major focus of the lecture was the unknown, relatively to the Holocaust, genocide that took place within the borders of the Soviet Union, whose victims were the Soviet Jews. This was interestingly connected to an analysis of the power of photography to form public opinion.

The lecturer brought as an example the posting of images portraying dead Soviet soldiers and grieving women in the newspapers in order to shift public opinion away from the atrocities happening against their Jewish neighbors, calling the Soviet people to focus their hatred on the Nazis that were killing their compatriots. Another example had to do with the publicly distributed images of the Soviet victory in the Battle of Berlin, that brought World War II to an end. In this instance, the most suitable image taken had to be processed, as it also included a Soviet soldier visibly wearing two watches in his hand. This proved that he had engaged in looting activities and at least one of the watches was in his possession as a result of that, something that did not fit the narrative of the Soviet government about the integrity and honesty of all its soldiers. Overall, it was an amazing lecture that helped me develop a fuller understanding of the factors often hiding behind photography, because of its power to shape public opinion.    

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