From February 10 through May 23, “Unexposed: Munich Photographers in Exile,” a compelling exhibit at Munich’s Jewish Museum, focused on the art and fate of three photographers who fled Germany for Palestine in the 1930s, thereby remaining mostly unknown in their native land.
Alfons Himmelreich (1904-1993), Efrem Ilani (1910-1999), and Jakob Rosner (1902-1950) all became pioneering photographers in Israel, as the exhibit’s lavish catalog from Kehrer Verlag demonstrates. The trio proved, as Rosner wrote in 1944, that “more than any other medium, photography has the power to give expression to the psychological or artistic value of a deed.”
In this case, the deed was the founding of the state of Israel. Rosner took photographs for the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL), including the iconic image, “Child with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Collection Box, c. 1945.” Honored with a 1944 exhibit of his photographs at the Bezalel Museum, the tragically short-lived Rosner left behind a still-unpublished book-length photo essay, “Homecoming from Arabia,” showing the 1949 exodus of Yemenite Jews to Israel during the so-called Operation Magic Carpet.