n°240/ Great Greta

September 2016

by Nathalie Azoulai

You don't know her but actually you do. She went by the name of Greta Friedman and since, 1960, turned internationally famous thanks to a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt so-called V-J Day in Times Square. Other women claimed before her to be the woman wearing the white uniform but in a Cinderella way, she was the right one. 

In 2005, she stated the pic saying: "It wasn’t my choice to be kissed.The guy just came over and grabbed me! That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me. I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this tight grip. It wasn't romantic at all." Too bad. Too sad. Some collective thinking just sink in a minute. Greta was an Austrian dental assistant passing by and the U.S. sailor was celebrating the American victory upon Japan. In spite of its vitality and obvious happiness, the photograph actually shows a girl coming back from the death camps and asking for nothing but peace. Surely not for this kind of fake outbursting joy. Greta Friedman just died on September 7th at the age of 92.

 Alfred Eisenstaedt