At Illinois Holocaust Museum, photos by David ‘Chim’ Seymour document hardships of postwar life in Europe

SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — We don’t often hear the stories of life after World War II, as families were forced to pick up the pieces in postwar Europe.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported Wednesday, the Illinois Holocaust Museum is now telling those stories through the eyes of one postwar photographer.

The photos in the exhibit show everyday people – such as a group of kids in Greece reading letters from home. You wouldn’t know the kids were in the middle of a civil war at the time.


Illinois Holocaust Museum

“The intensity of emotion from a child that young,” said Amanda Friedman of the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

On Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, children are seen playing in the shadow of wreckage from military equipment from D-Day.


Illinois Holocaust Museum

This was what normal life was like at the time, and what postwar Europe would be built on.

“We as a society talk about World War II in terms of the scale and the battles and the atrocities,” Friedman said. “We forget to talk about the people.”


Illinois Holocaust Museum

The new exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum is called “Chim: Between Devastation and Resurrection.”

Chim, also known as David Seymour, was the photographer behind the images in the exhibition.

“His photos blend these powerful statements about humanity with absolutely beautiful imagery,” Friedman said.

David “Chim” Seymour

Illinois Holocaust Museum

Chim was a Polish Jew who was forced to flee his home – his family having been killed in the Holocaust. He was later sent by UNICEF to document the destruction of Europe.

“Chim is showing us major political world events, but he is showing us the effects of those events on people,” Friedman said.

And the stories of those people – a hidden piece of history – are now on display in the Chicago area.

“We see these examples of what people are capable of, and what we, as people living in the world today, have the potential to do to create change,” Friedman said.


Illinois Holocaust Museum

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