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My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto [Paperback]

Frank Dabba Smith , Mendel Grossman
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 2008
Mendel Grossman, one of the many Jews imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto during World War II, was driven by a passion to bear witness to the human suffering that was going on around him. He secretly photographed people and events in the ghetto, leaving a historical record. In this photographic information book, the reader is taken on a journey with Grossman and his camera. The text emphasizes hope for the future, rather than the suffering of the past.

Frequently Bought Together

My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto + The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-44
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Product details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; 184507 reprint edition (15 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845078926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845078928
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 26 x 0.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"These photographs catch life in the Ghetto as though by surprise... They strengthen the heart because they show the victimised finding reason to laugh and joke... In the end that is what they record most vividly - the subjects' inextinguishable appetite for life". Howard Jacobson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Recent review coverage for My Secret Camera:
"Mendel Grossman took these photographs of the people of the Lodz Ghetto in secret. They are heart-rending, beautiful, beyond words; they show parents attempting to comfort their children through the wire of the prison camp where Grossman died. Save this book for when your children are old enough to understand the tragedy, as well as the beauty of facts. It will not only feed their imagination, but their hearts." The Independent on Sunday

"These are photographs that were taken from under a raincoat, and 55 years later they retain a peculiar intimacy: they are oblique memorials, images of restrained and hushed beauty. It is their context, rather than their content, that make them terrifying, tender, painful beyond belief. We look at the faces, the caught expressions, and know that shortly after these people were extinguished... All of these images are almost unbearable. Yet this is a book meant for young people. The simple, first-person text by Frank Dabba Smith asks children to imagine what it was like. Asks all of us to imagine again. It would seem to be the job of all parents and all teachers to make sure that children grow up knowing about the Holocaust. This book, suffused with tenderness, is a good place to start." The Observer

"This remarkable photo-essay about the Lodz Ghetto in Poland poignantly introduces Holocaust horrors… The text is simple and lets each picture speak for itself. This technique works well and makes the subject accessible to children… As these are personal, secret photographs and not the propaganda pictures so often repeated in history books, their significance is great and they are historically fascinating. The incredible story of how the photos have survived is recounted in an appended note. A truly powerful book." The School Library Journal

"Through the eye of the secret camera of Mendel Grossman, the reader sees bravery, determination and even humour in the face of great adversity". The Methodist Recorder --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I often stay up all night to develop films and to make prints of my secret pictures. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly interesting, educational and more 6 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While some photos may seem "so normal" it is that normalcy that shows how life in the ghettos (re)organised so that the people could survive and sometime probably do as if nothing were out of the ordinary... but they knew it was not normal. The history of how Mendel Grossmann hid multiple copies of his photos and how some disappeared show how much information and historic documents we've lost
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars annisib 23 July 2012
By annisib
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This beautiful book of well-documented photographs of life for the Jewish people in the Lodz Ghetto during World War II was purchased as a gift for a friend. She wept as she looked through it. The pictures speak louder than any words.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto 10 Nov 2010
Very disappointing. The synopsis given prior to purchasing the book implies that there was a lot of information about the Lodz Ghetto. This is much more suitable for Primary School children undertaking project work. Limited information and photographs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for schools 6 May 2000
By Ruth Minsky Sender - Published on
Tha little boy on the cover of the book is my brother, Moishele Minski. Standing behind him is my mother, Nacha Minska. They perished in the Nazi gas chambers. I was there in Lodz ghetto. That book is a painfilled reminder of what hate, prejudice and indifference lead to. Ruth Minsky Sender Author of THE CAGE. TO LIFE. THE HOLOCAUST LADY. Survivor of LODZ GHETTO.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Secret Camera By: Frank Dubba Smith 18 Nov 2004
A Kid's Review - Published on
My Secret Camera By: Frank Dubba Smith gives the reader a great insight on how Jews were dehumanized by {...] army. The reader gets a true feel for how tragic it is when someone is treated with little or no respect at all by all of the graphic and detailed pictures in this book. One of these pictures is one that has two young boys hauling an enormous bowl packed full of filthy clothes worn for months or weeks with no wash.

The pictures in this book were amazingly detailed considering the circumstances the photographer was placed in. I thought that the epilogue gave a great story about the way the pictures actually came to be published. My secret Camera may possibly be the best book I've ever read on this specific subject, Nazi terrorism. This book was terrific!

I really enjoyed reading My Secret Camera but I would only recommend it to children or even adults that have little or no feel for how badly some people were/are treated in a few places around the world. This book would really "wakes up the reader" to how terrible people can be even in today's societies. This book had phenomenal wording, terrific and detailed pictures which gives the whole book a great overall summary. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for all of the reasons above. READ IT TODAY! Please! Thank You, AJ.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important photographic document 7 May 2001
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on
"My Secret Camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto" combines the photographs of Mendel Grossman with a simple text by Frank Dabba Smith. Grossman was one of the many individuals who suffered under Nazi rule before and during World War II. Using his camera, he carefully documented the lives of the Jews who were confined by the Nazis to the Lodz ghetto.
Grossman's photographs in this book capture many haunting images: the despairing faces of the trapped people, two children harnessed like animals to a cart, people waiting on a bread line. But the fact that Grossman's stark visual testament survived the Holocaust is ultimately inspiring. This is an important book for teachers and parents to share with young readers.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Secret Camera..a good classroom resource 29 Mar 2000
By James E. Wenzloff - Published on
My Secret Camera : Life in the Lodz Ghetto tells a shares photographs and limited text depicting the event in Lodz Ghetto. This would be a good classroom book for younger children because it tells the tale of being in the Ghetto rather then the concentration camp. Some students think of the persecution of Jews during WWII as only happening in the camps.
If your students are reading Daniel's Story by Carol Matas in class, you will want to have a copy of My Secret Camera since Daniel is sent to the Lodz Ghetto. The two books fit together nicely.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Holocaust Images 21 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Library Binding
Grainy black and white photographs taken secretly by Mendel Grossman in the Lodz ghetto are the entire strength of this book. The words are almost superfluous as these haunting images make clear the pain, the suffering, the humanity and tremendous urge for life in this incredible prison.
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