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Faye Schulman Used Her Camera As A Form Of Resistance Against Nazis


With a camera in one hand and a rifle in the other, a young Faye Schulman resisted German Nazis during World War II. Schulman died on April 24 of this year in Toronto, Canada. She was believed to be 101 years old.

MITCH BRAFF: Faye has always inspired me, and I think she inspires others. You know, she was way ahead of her time.


That's Mitch Braff. He founded the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation. Over the years, he and Schulman became close friends, and he documented the stories she shared with him.

KELLY: One of those stories was about a dark August day in 1942 when German troops invaded Schulman's small Polish town of Lenin. They killed nearly 2,000 of the Jews who remained there. But...

BRAFF: One of the Nazi commanders asked her to get out of the line and go into the synagogue. And in the synagogue were several, quote, "useful Jews" - a cobbler, a tailor...

KELLY: And a photographer - Faye Schulman. The Germans wanted someone to document their troops, so they spared her.

SHAPIRO: In a video interview online, Schulman considers a particularly painful photo she'd been asked to develop during that time.


FAYE SCHULMAN: This is the actual grave where my family was killed. And my family's here - my mother, my father, my sister with two children, my other sister with her husband, and two brothers.

KELLY: Schulman would hold on to that photo and make copies of several others that she took of the atrocities she witnessed to preserve as proof of what had happened to her people.

BRAFF: I look at her almost an embedded photojournalist. She really captured images and ideas that no one really saw with their own eyes, except the people who were there.

SHAPIRO: About a month after Schulman was captured by the Nazis, Soviet guerrillas resisting the Nazis attacked the town she was in. She seized the opportunity and fled with them.

KELLY: Many years later, after the war, when Schulman emigrated to Canada, she took with her about 100 photographs from the war of both the Nazis and the resistance.

BRAFF: And having the photographic evidence, you know, when so many deny the Holocaust even happened - you have people who are denying that there was Jewish resistance. Well, here we have proof, and it's extraordinary.

SHAPIRO: Mitch Braff remembering his friend, photographer Faye Schulman.


Jonaki Mehta is a producer for All Things Considered. Before ATC, she worked at Neon Hum Media where she produced a documentary series and talk show. Prior to that, Mehta was a producer at Member station KPCC and director/associate producer at Marketplace Morning Report, where she helped shape the morning's business news.
Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.