Born in 1897 to a wealthy Russian-Jewish family, Roman Vishniac immigrated to Berlin in 1920 in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. As an amateur photographer, he took to the streets with his camera throughout the 1920s and 1930s, offering astute, often humorous visual commentary on his adopted city and experimented with new and modern approaches to framing and composition. Documenting the rise of Nazi power, he focused his lens on the signs of oppression and doom that soon formed the backdrop of his Berlin street photography.
From 1935 to 1938, while living in Berlin and working as a biologist and science photographer, he was commissioned by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), then the world's largest Jewish relief organization, to photograph impoverished Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe.
(Photos by Roman Vishniac/© Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy of International Center of Photography, via vintag.es)