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Brodsky, Aleksandr

In the Line of Defensive. Rare photography by Joseph Brodsky's father.

In the Line of Defensive. Rare photography by Joseph Brodsky's father.

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Photography / War
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[Brodsky, Aleksandr] In the Line of Defensive. Photography.

N.p., [ca 1942-1950s?].
15,1х23,4 cm.

Small loss to upper left corner, lightly worn to edges, small stains. Signed to verso.

Photos of besieged Leningrad are very rare.

During World War II, Aleksandr Brodsky (1903–1984), an officer, photojournalist, and the father of poet Joseph Brodsky, served as a press photographer for army newspapers on the Leningrad front, participating in several intense battles. It is likely that this photo was taken at The Fort Reef in Kronstadt. The main bases of Leningrad and Kronstadt were besieged from 1942 until the autumn of 1944. Coastal forces struggled to keep the route from Kronstadt to the advanced base of Lavansaari open and defend them from German-Finnish intrusions.
After the war, Aleksandr Brodsky served at the Leningrad Naval Museum. 'In 1948, Zhdanov signed a law that forbade officers of Jewish origin from holding high positions in the Soviet Navy. It was a secret law, not reported in newspapers — but it was the law nonetheless. Aleksandr Ivanovich was discharged from the Navy without a pension and for the rest of his life worked as a freelance photographer for small-circulation newspapers belonging to various organizations and ministries. This was far from a lucrative job, and the family relied on the meager salary of Maria Moiseevna (Joseph Brodsky's mother) and whatever income Iosif would earn after dropping out of high school at the age of fifteen' (Shtern, L. Brodsky: A Personal Memoir. Baskerville Pub, 2004).
The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history, with photography strictly controlled within the besieged city.

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