Chim’s Children

The Art Institute of Chicago

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) commissioned David Seymour to photograph the orphans and struggling children who survived World War II.  His 1947-48 travels through Europe’s resulted in a 62-page book, published by UNESCO in 1949, entitled “Children of Europe”.

It opens with an 8-page “Letter to a Grownup” written in first person from a child speaking on behalf of the “13,000,000 abandoned children of Europe.”  The remaining pages are filled with  CHIM’s 51 images of individuals and groups of children recovering from injuries, eating in shelters, learning in schools, and roaming destroyed cities.  These touching photos show the destruction of war and the sadness of loss, but equally portray hopeful signs that their future will be better.  They make a strong case about the importance of supporting efforts, such as UNESCO’s, to serve the special needs of these children.This publication and the photos made an enormous impact, developing CHIM’s reputation, especially as a photographer or troubled Children.  The Art Institute of Chicago mounted an exhibit based on these photos in 1957, and some of these photos have become iconic images of the impact of war on children.

The book, “Children of War,” is based on the above document. Information about the book and how to order can be found on the book’s website.

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