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January 18, 2008

Paul Goldman Photographs of the Birth of Israel

Photography Exhibition Celebrates Israel 's 60th Anniversary - “To Return to the Land…” Paul Goldman’s Photographs of the Birth of Israel at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Hungarian-born photojournalist Paul Goldman fled to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1940, where he chronicled the events leading up to the foundation of the State of Israel. Goldman’s photos of life before statehood, during the War of Independence, and the ingathering of dispersed Jews are complemented by rich memories of individuals who lived through those same events. Images and words together tell stories of the birth of Israel through the lenses of photographic and human memory. From Tel Aviv streetscapes to the bombing of the King David Hotel, from street vendors to Prime Ministers; both the extraordinary and everyday document this monumental story.
While Goldman was one of only a few photojournalists working in the British Mandate of Palestine in the 1940s, he remains largely unknown, mostly because of the practice at the time of not including photo credits in newspapers. His work was beautifully composed and restrained, as Jewish Week writes, “This supreme sensitivity makes Goldman’s photographs a small miracle in today’s world of extreme closeups and telephoto lenses, and they make for interesting, almost prosaic constructions, rich with tensions between public and private.”
We could think of no better way to honor the birth of the State of Israel than by showing the powerful images of its struggle and its triumphs,” Museum director Dr. David G. Marwell said. “The title of this exhibition is taken from the words of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva, and captures the fervent dream of the Jewish people to have their own state.”
Highlights of the exhibition include more than 35 images culled from a collection of negatives that lived in a shoebox until they were rediscovered in recent years. The photos are on loan to the Museum from the collection of Spencer M. Partrich. The exhibition will feature such inspiring images as the one of future Israelis toiling the land of a Kibbutz in 1943; and heartbreaking images such as one of Holocaust survivors arriving at a detention camp in 1945.
Goldman, born in 1900, fled Budapest in 1940 to escape the spreading threat of Nazism. He worked as a freelance photographer for local newspapers and international news services during the 1940s and 1950s. His role as a member of the British Army, and later as a confidant to important Israeli leaders, provided him with privileged access and a frontrow view to Israel’s growing pains. Unfortunately, Goldman’s eyesight failed him in the early 1960s — he died penniless at the age of 86 in Israel. Sadly, he never was able to see Israel’s physical beauty beyond her adolescence.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280 http://www.mjhnyc.org/

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