Bernard Gotfryd, Polish/American (1924 - )

Bernard Gotfryd

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 emigrated 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 settled in Forest Hills, Queens, where they raised two children, Howard and Eva.

Gotfryd joined the staff of Newsweek in 1957, where he worked for more than thirty years. 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 eventually published as a collection, titled Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust.

After his retirement Gotfryd turned to writing and lecturing. His extraordinary wartime reminiscences were published as some thirty autobiographical short stories under the title Anton the Dove Fancier. He has also been active in lecturing about the Holocaust, particularly to high school students in the New York City area. Several hundred letters from grateful listeners, included in his papers, bear witness to the effectiveness of his presentations.

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