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Markings: Germaine Kanova, Aline Gubbay and me


Germaine Kanova was a remarkable woman.  She had been my mother’s mentor, had taught her photography in London, England in the early 1940s. In 1944, Kanova enlisted as a war photographer with the Free French forces and followed the liberation operations in Alsace and then Germany. While she was away, she left her Baker Street studio in my mother’s care.


Growing up first in Winnipeg and then in Montreal, Canada, I was imbued with the spirit of “Germaine”, though I never met her until I was a young adult. As a child I did not know that Germaine and my mother had had a falling out, only that she was the model to emulate, a model of courage and charisma, audacity and talent. This slide-show presentation offers a personal review of the ways in which Germaine marked my mother’s life, and mine, including via the concentration camp photos she brought back to London, that “no-one wanted to see”.

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