Photographer Ryszard Horowitz accepts his honorary citzenship of the city of Krakow. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
Horowitz, who was born in the city in May 1939, just months before the outbreak of the Second World War, was so moved by Wednesday's ceremony that he broke off his acceptance speech after a few minutes.
“I love Krakow, a city which brings back the memories of my early years,” he reminisced.
“I carry inside me the atmosphere of the town […] and I never miss an opportunity to come here.
“As soon as I arrive I go to the Market Square to check if the tower of St Mary’s Church is still there, and to listen to the bugle call.
“And then I proceed on a nostalgic walk around old Kazimierz [the former Jewish district], ending with a meal of carp, served Jewish style.
“Krakow will remain for ever in my heart as the most captivating and magical place in the world.”
Chairman of the Krakow City Council Boguslaw Kosmider referred to Horowitz as “a guardian of the spirit of Poland and of Krakow.”
Ryszard Horowitz was just four months old when he and his family were transported to Nazi German concentration camps, including Auschwitz.
He was one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz when it was liberated in January 1945. He was five and a half years old at the time. Fourteen members of his family survived the Holocaust thanks to the German industrialist Oskar Schindler.
As a student at the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow, he developed an interest in photography, which he continued in the United States, where he emigrated in 1959.
He studied at the Pratt Institute in New York City. Upon graduation, he worked for several film and design companies, before opening his own photography studio in 1967.
He has earned a reputation as a pioneer of special effects photography prior to digital technology, and has updated his techniques as technologies have changed. (mk/nh)