A exhibit of photographs of Jews during World War II, taken by soldiers in the German army, the Wehrmacht, was displayed at the Knesset on Monday as part of the Holocaust Remembrance Day events.
The photographs were taken during the Nazi occupation of eastern Poland and Operation Barbarossa when Germany invaded Russia.
Each of the original photos had a handwritten description on the back explaining the nature of the picture.
In describing their photographs, the soldiers used phrases such as “Jewish criminals,” “Jews at work,” “blowing up the synagogue” and “dead Jews.”
The victims portrayed in the photographs were from towns that left little documentation of their fates in WWII: Shedlitz, Kotzk, Radom, Chelm and their surrounding villages.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein viewed the exhibit in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset building after attending an official memorial ceremony at parliament.
“It is hard to add words after the ceremony that we have just been through, and after seeing this exhibit,” he said. “The exhibit clearly presents the ‘banality of evil.’ In it there is perhaps an answer to the question “how could it happen?”
The exhibit, titled “Front and Back,” was provided by the Shem Olam Institute, which engages in research and education about the Holocaust.