Janina Struk

 Porträt Janina Struk

Janina Struk

Documentary Photographer and Writer

In Residence

September 2013

Research Project

Regards croisés franco-allemands dans l’Europe en guerre (1939-1948)

The many albums of photographs taken by German occupying forces during the Second World War constitute a highly diverse fund of private snaps. Building on the exhibition Fremde im Visier. Fotoalben aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg [Strangers in Our Sights. Photo Albums from the Second World War], which presented photographs taken by German soldiers in Poland and France—the accoutrements of war, action on the front line, daily life in the army, civilians, and prisoners of war—in the upcoming exhibition, Regards croisés franco-allemands dans l’Europe en guerre (1939–1948), the gaze of the cameras of those living under occupation meets the gaze of the cameras of the occupiers. Whereas German soldiers were exhorted by Goebbels at the beginning of the War to bolster official propaganda with their own photographs, Polish and French citizens living in occupied territories—flouting the National Socialists’ ban on taking pictures—often secretly photographed the German occupying forces to support their own resistance movements and, in France, to fulfill official commissions from the Vichy regime. Individuals in Poland and France were called on by their various political organizations to bear witness to the hostilities and their own resistance by taking photographs—“Use your cameras!” as the Mayor of Warsaw put it in 1939.

What is the role of photography as a historical source and as an aesthetic object in this process of Evidenz? How did these images of alien cultures come about in public life and in domestic settings, in different political and social contexts? What impact do these images have on us today? What do they tell us of the perceptions, experiences, and mentalities of those caught up in the Second World War? How can opposing views be juxtaposed in an exhibition?

Research Interests

  • Photography in war and the Holocaust
  • Photographic archives in the UK, Poland, Canada, USA and Israel


Private Pictures. Soldiers’ Inside View of War, London et al.: I.B.Tauris 2011.

Photographing the Holocaust. Interpretations of the Evidence, London et al.: I.B.Tauris 2004.


Janina Struk

Center for Advanced Studies BildEvidenz

Arnimallee 10
14195 Berlin