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Liberated Prisoners at Buchenwald, Germany

Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904-1971)

Liberated Prisoners at Buchenwald, Germany, 1945

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 10 5/8 x 10 5/8 in. (26.9 x 26.9 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Lillian Gordon Bequest, 2000-77
  • © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Not on view

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Liberated Prisoners at Buchenwald, Germany

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Liberated Prisoners at Buchenwald, Germany


Margaret Bourke-White took this photograph in 1945 as the Buchenwald concentration camp was being liberated by the Americans (For more about Bourke-White). Compare this photograph to Felix Nussbaum's drawing Skeleton Playing a Horn.

  • What are the similarities between the subjects of Margaret Bourke-White's photograph and the figure in Felix Nussbaum's drawing? What are the differences?

  • What do you think accounts for these differences (for example, the difference between drawing and photography, the different perspectives of the artists, the different reasons for which each work was created)?

  • How could each work be considered an historical document of the Holocaust? Is one more "accurate" than the other?