Running over 1,500 miles, the Odessa catacombs are one of the largest systems of underground tunnels in the world. Though originally formed in the process of stone mining, the tunnels played an important role during World War II when the labyrinth of passages was utilized to hide Soviet partisans. Georgi Zelma, a noted war photographer, returned to these tunnels years later to photograph the return of mining operations. Zelma’s image captures the absolute darkness of the mines, relieved only by the light on each man’s helmet.


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Artist
Georgy Zelma, Russian, 1906–1984
Title
Odessa
Date
1968
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 13 7/8 × 10 15/16 in. (35.2 × 27.8 cm) Sheet: 13 7/8 × 10 15/16 in. (35.2 × 27.8 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Howard Schickler and David Lafaille

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
95.350
Classification
Photographs
Provenance

Howard Schickler and David Lafaille; given to MFAH, 1995.