Matilda Goldfinger was murdered for a second time last week.
Her name probably means nothing to most people, but millions here and around the world know what she looked like: a young mother in a long black coat, her hair partially pulled back in a bun, her hands up in the air, staring at well-armed Nazi troops to her far left. Between her and the troops stood a little boy, dressed in a mid-length coat and short pants, with a cap on his head, and his hands also held up in the air. They were being evacuated from the fallen Warsaw Ghetto.
It is one of the most famous photographs of the Shoah. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, for example, used it to publicize its annual Holocaust Memorial Day observance.
No one knows who the boy was or what was his fate, but Matilda Goldfinger’s fate is known: She was one of our martyred Six Million.
Not too long ago, a man came forward in London claiming to be the little boy in the photograph (the fifth to claim that distinction). A charedi Israeli newspaper published the story, including the iconic photograph. The newspaper, Bakehillah (In the Community), could have published just the boy’s photograph, as so many others have done in the past. Instead, it chose to use the entire photograph.
It made only one change: It blurred out the head and face of Matilda Goldfinger, for reasons of “modesty,” presumably because the woman’s hair was not covered.
The editor told the web-based Ynet news site that “weâ€¦only put in front of [our readers] what they need and want to see.”
Apparently, those readers had no need or desire to see a young woman being led to her death because she was a Jew.