WOMEN PHOTOJOURNALISTS IN EUROPE 1914-1945
Between 1914 and 1945, during the two international wars of aggression and the Spanish Civil War, women took part as war correspondents, whether as professional photographers and journalists, or as amateur photographers or nurses with cameras. They witnessed the care of the wounded in field hospitals, troop entertainments at base and military conflict along the lines, just as they recorded life at home on the domestic front. They opposed the Kaiser, fascists and Nazis, but being female does not automatically mean being a pacifist. For example the Austrian Alice Schalek was fascinated by war. Schalek, the first woman to be accredited as a war photographer, enthusiastically accompanied soldiers as far as the Isonzo mountains in 1914-16, and her verbal skirmishes in the press with the Viennese pacifist Karl Kraus caused quite a stir.
In Germany, women were not allowed onto the battlefields, but most middle-class women proudly volunteered for any task to support the home front. The amateur photographer Käthe Buchler portrayed them 1916 in such roles as tram conductor, postwoman or night watchwoman, mobilising their efforts with slide lectures.
In Britain, it was the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote and then, when 1914 war broke out, their right to serve in the war. The exhibition shows works by a professional studio portrait photographers from London (Christina Broom, Olive Edis) and snapshots by nurses who, in Belgium (Elsie Knocker, Mairi Chisholm) and in Russia (Florence Farmborough), documented the care of the wounded and everyday war in camp.
Little attention has so far been paid to the women who chronicled the Spanish Civil War, with one exception: Gerda Taro is currently the best-known female war photographer in Europe. Her photos are a political indictment of war, and she focuses on the people, not the weaponry or military events. She met a cruel death 1937 while at work among International Brigades on the front ranks.
World War II saw more women from different countries taking pictures. In winter 1944, Germaine Krull provided detailed reportage from the Allied liberation of Alsace for the military press agency of the Free French forces; Eva Besnyö, exiled in the Netherlands as a persecuted Jew, took photographs of the German destruction of Rotterdam in 1940, before she went into hiding.
The Soviet war correspondents Natalya Bode and Olga Lander made a sensational contribution. Working for the Red Army, they provided pictures for major newspapers, magazines and agencies. We only have a sketchy idea of their lives and work, but their photographs, taken at scenes like the Battle of Stalingrad, are unique documents. Yet when they returned to civilian life, they encountered much distrust and contempt.
The exhibition ends with a few specimens from the scantily researched history of German women working as photographers in World War II (Erika Schmachtenberger, Lala Aufsberg, Liselotte Purper). From occupied Libya (1942) and the Balkans (1941-43), Ilse Steinhoff provided pictures for conforming Nazi publications like “BIZ”, “Signal” and “Die Wehrmacht”.
Wednesday 27. September 2017 | 19 h
Das Verborgene Museum
Deutsch-Russisches Museum, Berlin-Karlshorst
Sowjetische Fotokorrespondentinnen 1941-1945
28. September 2017 - 11. February 2018
closed: 21.12.2017 - 03.01.2018
The Museum is only open during the exhibition period !!
Thursday, Friday 15 - 19 h
Saturday, Sunday 12 - 16 h
December 2017: Book Discount
DAS VERBORGENE MUSEUM
S5, 7, 75, 9 Savignyplatz
Bus M49, X34, 101
+49 (0) 30 313 36 56
Picture Quotes | Exhibition
FLYER to the Exhibition
Fotogeschichte – Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie
Heft 134, 2014, Jg. 34: Kriegsfotografinnen, Marion Beckers, Elisabeth Moortgat (Hg.)
20,00 € an der Museumskasse