1947 Hungary – Romania​

Werner Bischof stayed in Eastern Europe for some time. On his way by car to visit various Swiss Relief children’s settlements, he worked on a documentation to appear in magazines such as Du and Life.

1947 Hungary​

Departure of the Red Cross train, Budapest 1947

“Keleti – train station in Budapest, children are sent to Switzerland for three months, each with a tag around the neck indicating name and belongings. The ‘Childrens train’ leaves Switzerland about once every three months, travelling to Budapest via Vienna. Passing through these capital cities, the train delivers the most urgently needed provisions and then, on the return trip, takes on about 50 weary children from each city for three months of recuperative vacation.”

Children’s village, Hajdúhadház, Hungary 1947

Diary of Gret Hess: “Row houses for about 300 children. They adore the camp director, Mr. Adam; they are absolutely uninhibited and free, independent people: orphans, drifters, runaways, all between the ages of 6 and 15 years are taken in and work together towards the self-sufficiency of the community.”

Crying girl, Hajdúhadház, Hungary 1947

Diary of Gret Hess: “The little crying girl that Werner photographed was sitting all alone in one of the larger sleeping barracks. He was able to capture images like that again and again because he never took a single step without his camera in hand and because he did not simply take snap shots. He approached his subjects thoughtfully, slowly and with discretion. He would capture first impressions with his heart, then view them with his eyes, and finally, fix them with his camera.”

The former ballroom, Chateau Fôt, Hungary 1947

“The large farming estates from the feudal regime were dispossessed. Now school boys can spend their vacation at Chateau Fôt outside Budapest. Corn is dried and thrashed under the chandelier in the former ballroom.”

1947 Romania​

County school in Galati, Romania, November 1947

“A school, a white limestone building, and in front, a clean open space of hard trodden earth. A hoard of squabbling boys and girls, the boys wearing the usual fur caps but with shockingly ragged clothes. I seem to incite a lot of curiousity with my camera, but fortunately the teacher is not there so I am able to take pictures without restraint. Every time I point my camera, the whole class moves with me. I have to resort to little tricks to isolate individual subjects from the group.”

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