Georgij Petrussow, Final Attack, Berlin 1945
Georgij Petrussow, Final Attack, Berlin 1945

Georgij Petrussow

Final Attack, Berlin 1945

Georgij Petrussow was born in Rostow on the Don, Russia, in 1903, in what is now the Ukraine. Initially, he practised photography parallel to bookkeeping in a bank and work in a foundry. It was not until 1924, when he moved to Moscow, that he began to work as a photographic journalist for the union magazines “Metallist” and “Rabotschi-chemik”. Petrussow’s early career as a journalist thus fell at a time when photo journalism in the Soviet Union was becoming more professional and planned propaganda was practised inside and outside the country together with the publication of the first five year plan.   

As from summer 1941, Petrussow held the rank of captain in the Red Army and during the last days of April 1945 he documented the end of the Second World War in Berlin. He considerably heightened the impact of those pictures in the darkroom by manipulating the “original” images. But Petrussow not only saw this type of image processing as asserting an influence on the aesthetics of the image: he also employed it through a desire to convey an emotional as well as a documentary message. In “Final Attack” the portrayal of the street “Schlossfreiheit” as a scene of war can be read as an apocalyptic vision and in this sense as a clear stance against war and its associated horrors.
Georgij Petrussow died in Moscow in 1971.

Final Attack, Berlin 1945
Gelatine silver print
54.6 x 44 cm
Acquired using funds from the Foundation DKLB, Berlin 1993

© Berlinische Galerie, 2011
© Reproduction: Kai-Annett Becker

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