A Vanished World - Signed - Roman Vishniac, Elie Wiesel 1983 - Farrar, New York - First Edition One picture is worth a thousand words – or is it? In most cases, I would say: no, a poet’s word is worth at least a thousand pictures. But then I would have to admit that Roman Vishniac is a special case.

This astonishing man’s eyes seem to pierce our memory, to sift its shadows. We are afraid to follow him, but we do, even so. Who can resist the lure of the past?
’ – Elie Wiesel, from the foreword.

A fine first edition, signed with a large flourish to the front ‘
Roman / Edith Vishniac 1985’ Produced for the exhibition of the same name, in large format with 180 photographs, many of which had never been published before.
  ‘Living in Berlin in the 1920s and 30s after his family was forced to flee Russia, Vishniac covered 5,000 miles, across Poland, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania, documenting Jewish life in cities, villages, and shtetls. Here are the faces of the vanished Jews of Cracow and Warsaw, of Mukachevo, Carpathian Ruthenia, Lublin, Slonim, and Lodz. “He loves them all,” writes Elie Wiesel in the foreword to the publication A Vanished World that accompanies the exhibition, “the rabbis and their pupils, the peddlers and their customers, the beggars and the cantors, the sad old men and the smiling young ones. He loves them because the world they live in did not, and because death has already marked them for its own—death and oblivion as well.”

Cornell Capa, Executive Director of the International Center of Photography has said, “Roman Vishniac has been a passionate and compassionate observer of life for most of his 86 years. His photographs of Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, made on the eve of World War II, constitute the last pictorial record of a unique world that vanished soon after. As a man, a humanist, and a photographer, Roman Vishniac wondrously fulfills Lewis Hine’s definition of what we mean by a concerned photographer—he ‘wanted to show things that had to be appreciated…and things that had to be corrected.’ Roman Vishniac respects life and humanity.”’ – International Center of Photography, 1983.

“The testament of Vishniac [1897-1990] is the visual counterpart of the tradition of mystically inspired Jewish culture, a historical cycle that ends in tragedy. The tales of Sholem Aleichem, the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer, the philosophy and teaching of Hassidim collected by Martin Buber: these tell of men and places, of conditions and customs, of beliefs and sentiments—a whole world wiped out that can never be rebuilt. Vishniac grasps this world in its last moments, fixes it forever. It is a heritage for everyone in the world who, through his work, may know that which they were never able to see.” – Giuliana Scieme,
Contemporary Photographers, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Folio (book size 31x31cm), pp. [12] follwed by 180 black anf white photographic plates. In publisher’s dark brown glazed clothspine lettered in gilt, front panel with Vishniac’s signature blind-embossed, light brown endpapers. Dust jacket without price, as published.
  Condition: Fine in fine dust jacket   Ref: 109779   Price: HK$ 4,000