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Bernard Gotfryd Photograph Collection PR 276

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Kelly McAnnaney with additions by Twila Rios; finding aid revised 2013 by Twila Rios

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 31, 2013
Description is in English

Biographical Note

Bernard Gotfryd was born in 1924 in Radom, Poland, and became interested in photography at an early age. When World War II broke out and schools were closed to Jewish students, Gotfryd found work as an apprentice in a photography studio. While working in the studio, he began aiding the Polish underground by passing on photographs taken by Nazi officers of war atrocities. After an unsuccessful escape attempt in October 1943, Gotfryd was apprehended and shipped to Maidanek. By the war’s end, Gotfryd had survived six concentration camps.

In 1947, Gotfryd immigrated to the United States, where he worked as a photographer and studied photojournalism. After being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1949 and going through basic training, Gotfryd was assigned to the Signal Corps as a combat photographer. In 1952, he married his wife, Gina. They lived in Astoria, Queens until early 1954, when they moved to the Cambria Heights section of Queens. They raised two children, Howard and Eva, in this neighborhood, before relocating in the early 1970's to Forest Hills, Queens.

Gotfryd joined the staff of Newsweek in 1957, where he worked for more than thirty years. His photography for Newsweek encompasses a broad sampling of celebrity portraits and events in the U.S. in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, including numerous photos in and around New York City.

It was while working for Newsweek, covering the Holocaust Survivors Gathering in Washington, D.C., in April 1983 that Gotfryd was moved to write about his own experiences. First published in Newsweek, his stories were published in 1990 as a collection, titled Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust. An expanded edition of the book was published in 2000. In addition the book  Widuje ich w snach: Nowe Opowiadania (  I can see them in my dreams: The new stories) was published in English and Polish in 2008, and  Stolarz Isaak, Em Murem in polish in 2009. Gotfryd also has given numerous talks to school children and others about his experiences during World War II.

Sources: Gotfryd, Bernard. Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust. New York: Washington Square Press, Pocket Books, 1990.

Gotfryd, Bernard. Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust (expanded edition). Cleveland: John Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Gotfryd, Bernard. The Intimate Eye: Portraits by Bernard Gotfryd. New York: Riverside Book Company, [2006].