Accidentally Discovered Unique Photographs of the Second World War

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Photographer Arthur Bondar learned from an advertisement that the family of a Soviet military photographer was selling old negatives. This photographer was Valery Faminsky, who was filming everything during the Second World War: from the liberation of Sevastopol to the complete surrender of fascist Germany. In 2011, he died and his heirs decided to sell the negatives, which were carefully preserved for decades.

Bondar contacted the family of the photographer, looked at the material and realized that he had stumbled on a unique historical images. The requested price for the freelance photographer was very high, but nevertheless Bondar still got the archive. He used the money he received from the sale of previously issued photo books about the Chernobyl exclusion zone “Shadows of  the Wormwood Star”.

“I looked through the negatives and realized I held in my hands a huge piece of history that was mostly unknown to ordinary people, even citizens of the former U.S.S.R.,” he said. “We had so much propaganda from the World War II period, but here I saw an intimate look by Faminsky. He was purely interested in the people from both sides of the World War II barricades,” said Arthur Bondar to the New York Times.

Often the military photographs were staged for propaganda purposes. But the value of the images of Faminsky is in the fact that he filmed real life of ordinary soldiers and civilians.

Arthur Bondar shared already scanned negatives of Faminsky, which were taken in Germany in 1945.


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