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Paul Schutzer

(1930 - 1967)

LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer died in the Middle East on June 5, 1967, at the age of 37, the first day of the Arab-Israeli war. He died in the Negev Desert when the Israeli half-track carrying him was hit by a 57-mm Egyptian shell. He was covering an Israeli-Egyptian armored battle, traveling in one of the leading vehicles advancing across the Gaza Strip.

When Schutzer was 10 years old, he starting shooting photographs with a broken camera he found in a waste basket in Brooklyn, NY. Years later, after studying to he a painter, then a lawyer, he realized that what he really wanted to do was shoot photographs.

Photography of the human experience became Schutzer's preoccupation. In 1956 he joined LIFE's Washington bureau and that began his short-lived hut fruitful career.

Although his life span was tragically short, Paul had seen and photographed much of the world, and much of what he saw appeared in the pages of his magazine: the Berlin Wall, the earthquake in Iran, the Algerian War, Nixon in South America, Kennedy through his campaign onto his funeral, Cuba and Castro, Lebanon, and Vietnam. Schutzer won several national photojournalism awards, including the University of Missouri's News Photographer of the Year Award in 1959 and the George Polk Award for foreign coverage in 1958. He often accepted dangerous assignments. A colleague said Schutzer had “almost too much courage.”

Sources: American Jewish Historical Society Newsletter Fall/Winter 2003