The Last Jew in Vinnitsa

The Last Jew in Vinnitsa is a photograph taken during the Holocaust in Ukraine showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnitsa (Vinnytsia) about to be shot dead by a member of Einsatzgruppe D, a mobile death squad of the Nazi SS. The victim is kneeling beside a mass grave already containing bodies; behind, a group of SS and Reich Labour Service men watch.[1]

The last Jew in Vinnitsa


The photograph dates from some time between mid-1941, when the Germans occupied the oblast (region) of Vinnytsia, and 1943.[1] During this period there were numerous massacres of Jews in the oblast,[2] including in the town itself on 16 and 22 September 1941 and April 1942, after which those spared were sent to labour camps and the Yerusalimka quarter was largely razed.[1][3][4]

The photograph was circulated in 1961 by United Press (UPI) during the trial of Adolf Eichmann.[5] UPI had received it from Al Moss (b. 1910) a Polish Jew who acquired it in May 1945 shortly after he was liberated from Allach concentration camp by the American 3rd Army.[5][6] Moss, living in Chicago in 1961, wanted people "to know what went on in Eichmann's time".[5] The UPI copy was published over a full page of The Forward.[7]

Some later sources say that the original physical image was in an Einsatzgruppe member's photograph album,[5] or removed from the pocket of a dead soldier;[8] and that written on its reverse side was "Last Jew in Vinnitsa",[5][9] now sometimes used as the image's name.[5][9][8][10]


The photograph has become iconic. Some features are unusual among well-known Holocaust pictures: it was taken during the Holocaust rather than after its end, and presumably by someone complicit in the killing; it depicts Einsatzgruppen rather than concentration or extermination camps; the focus is on a solitary victim rather than a multitude.[9][11][12][13][14][15]

The photograph has been reproduced, with different degrees of cropping,[16] in many books and museum exhibits about the Holocaust.[12][13][14][17] Books include ones by Guido Knopp[8] and Michael Berenbaum.[18] Exhibits include in Berlin at "Questions on German History" in the Reichstag building from 1971 to 1994,[9] and then at Topography of Terror[11] and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe;[19] the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland;[19] the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum;[1] and Yad Vashem.[20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Photograph Number 64407: German soldiers of the Waffen-SS and the Reich Labor Service look on as a member of an Einsatzgruppe prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew kneeling on the edge of a mass grave filled with corpses". Collections Search. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Vinnitsa". Online Guide of Murder Sites of Jews in the Former USSR. Yad Vashem. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Vinnitsa, Vinnitsa County, Vinnitsa District, Ukraine". The Untold Stories. Yad Vashem. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  4. ^ Vinokurova, Faina A. (2002). The Holocaust in Vinnitsa Oblast (PDF). Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova. Routes to Roots Foundation. pp. 332–335. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "2012.1.397 : "The Last Jew in Vinnitsa"". Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. Kenyon College. 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ "USC Shoah Foundation Institute testimony of Al Moss". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  7. ^ Ouzan, Francoise S.; Mikhman, Dan (2008). "La mémoire de la Shoah dans le vécu des Juifs aux Etats-Unis jusqu'au procès Eichmann". De la mémoire de la Shoah dans le monde juif (in French). CNRS éditions. p. 306. ISBN 9782271067630.
  8. ^ a b c Knopp, Guido (2014-09-10). "»Der letzte Jude von Winniza«". Der zweite Weltkrieg: Bilder, die wir nie vergessen (in German). Edel. pp. 146–151. ISBN 9783841903358. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Patterson, Glenn (25 October 2014). "A photograph seen once, long ago, haunted me – and taught me to distrust memory". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  10. ^ Sanneh, Kalefa (9 March 2015). "United Blood: How hardcore conquered New York". The New Yorker: 82–89: 86.
  11. ^ a b Gee, Denise (16 March 2017). "'Photography describes everything and explains nothing'". SMU Adventures. Southern Methodist University. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  12. ^ a b Rakitova, Maya (2016-11-01). Behind the Red Curtain. Azrieli Foundation. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781988065229. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b Staines, Deborah R. (2010). "Auschwitz and the camera". Mortality. 7 (1): 13–32. doi:10.1080/13576270120102544. ISSN 1357-6275.
  14. ^ a b Wollaston, Isabel (2010). "The absent, the partial and the iconic in archival photographs of the Holocaust". Jewish Culture and History. 12 (3): 439–462. doi:10.1080/1462169X.2012.721494. ISSN 1462-169X.
  15. ^ Boehlke, Erik (2016-10-10). "Geheime Botschaften in Bildern; 5 Entdeckungen bei genauem Hinsehen". In Sollberger, Daniel; Böning, Jobst; Boehlke, Erik; Schindler, Gerhard (eds.). Das Geheimnis: Psychologische, psychopathologische und künstlerische Ausdrucksformen im Spektrum zwischen Verheimlichen und Geheimnisvollem (in German). Frank & Timme. pp. 238–239. ISBN 9783732903016. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Nazis executing a Jew at the edge of a mass grave, Vinnitsa, Ukraine". Images of the Holocaust: Photos from the YIVO Archives. YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  17. ^ Taylor, Alan (16 October 2011). "World War II Part 18: The Holocaust". The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  18. ^ Berenbaum, Michael (1993). The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316091343.
  19. ^ a b "Memorials to the Murdered Jews of Vinnytsya". Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance (in English and German). Berlin: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Tab "Victims". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  20. ^ "July 1941, a Member of the Waffen-SS Shoots a Jew at a Mass Grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine". Yad Vashem Photo Archives. Yad Vashem. 2626/4. Retrieved 5 April 2018.