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Elie Kagan

KAGAN, ELIE (1928–1999), French photographer. Kagan was born in Paris to parents who had emigrated from Russia and Poland and worked in the garment industry. His father disappeared during the German occupation while he himself was hidden in the countryside. A member of the French Communist Party during his youth, he tried his hand at various jobs until he became a professional photographer in 1957. His most famous photographs are those he made during the repression of the FLN-organized Algerian demonstration in Paris on October 17, 1961. He was the only photographer to capture the faces of many who were not to survive the day. Probably the outstanding photojournalist on the French political scene in the 1960s and 1970s, with a clear leftist orientation, he displayed a measure of the humor and irreverence typical of the period. A partner of Serge and Beate *Klarsfeld in their campaign against Nazis who had committed crimes in France and their French accomplices, he expressed his solidarity with the State of Israel, which ran counter to the position of the far left. In 1969 he published Le Reporter engagé: trente ans d'instantanés (with Patrick Rotman), also including images of artists he had befriended. In 2001, Jean-Luc Einaudi published posthumously his 17 octobre 1961. The collection of his photographs, deposited in the BDIC library in Nanterre, was used in 2004 for an exhibition on Michel Foucault as a political activist.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.