/Primary Source Analysis

Primary Source Analysis

1. Stories Behind the Photographs, by Sylwester ‘Kris’ Braun. Translated into English by various authors
2. Owned by The Warsaw Historical Museum, http://www.warsawuprising.com/witness/kris_braun1.htm  Translated into English by Various Authors.
3. Type of Source: Diary Entry This collection of Diary Entries has been compiled along with the photos they were penned about.  
4. Physical Characteristics: Online Document, Unknown.
5. Document Date(s): August 1st, 1944, to Late September, 1944
6. Author: Sylwester ‘Kris’ Braun, Home Army Photographer/Fighter.
7. Purpose of the Work: The Original Work was penned for personal reflection in a diary, to explain the context of various photographs, the translations into English likely tell that the audience for this compilation would be English-speaking people interested in the Warsaw Uprising.
8. Key Info: Important Quotes, The Documents Purpose, Lessons and Context.

a). Several smaller quotes by Braun show massive insight into his position as a photographer in wartime, with the first of these quotes being, “Every photo I took was overexposed at least two times, so as to get the details in the shadows.” He also speaks about “distributing photos to the soldiers, as “seeing happiness on their faces” made him feel a satisfaction in what must have been a dreadful situation. The final quote that I believe holds significance in understanding Braun’s position, is his quote at the end of his summarizing diary page, “The city was in ruins, but as long as the fight went on, my mission persisted.”1

b). This Document exists as an accompaniment to Braun’s collection of photographs from the Uprising and serves as a way to bring context to those photos that he wrote about.

c). In a page describing a picture of a group of Poles reading a newspaper bulletin about the Uprising, Braun writes as follows, “Everyone immediately gathered to read the news together. They made a very good subject for photographs.” This context helps to create Braun’s Stories Behind the Photographs.

d). Braun’s attention to the smaller stories of the Uprising truly helps put names and faces to individual efforts during the war, and through those individual stories you find heartbreak and sorrow, but also scenes of joy and jubilation, I think if there is one thing this piece does well it’s the illumination of the shifting of emotion when being an active belligerent in war. Braun also gives a narrative to his photos that I’ve seen emulated by war correspondents even today, which is that, in contextualizing the scenes of violence and bloodshed, you control how an audience reacts to them. Braun weaves a strong, nationalistic, hopeful view of the Uprising throughout his entries, with quotes like “The first day of the Uprising were successful, and we were given hope, Free Warsaw!”

e). Braun may write a tantalizing background for his photos, that creates a guided narrative through his work, but how was Braun taking all of this violence and loss, this stress, the collected works in this compilation don’t make mention of his own state of being, how do you think he handled all of this bloodshed?
9. Connor Neale, University of Oklahoma, 3/1/2019