A short time after Warsaw was occupied by the Germans, the Jewish community organized a social welfare committee known as the Zydowska Samapomoc Spolczna (Jewish Social Self-Help), or the ZSS, in order to provide social assistance to the Jewish residents. Funding for the activities came primarily from the Polish branch of the Joint, which was also located in Warsaw. The Joint, short for The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, was an agency that had been founded by Jews in America in 1914 in order to provide aid for Jewish communities located outside the United States.
Since it was an American institution, the Joint was permitted to continue its activities in occupied Poland. During the first half of 1940, the organization’s aid activities focused on opening public soup kitchens and distributing food to the needy, on taking in the thousands of Jewish refugees and POWs who were pouring into the ghetto, and establishing institutions for childcare. In addition to funds, the Joint sent food parcels and clothing from the United States to Jews in Warsaw, and these were distributed to the ZSS and other organizations inside the ghetto, such as the TOZ (Health and Sanitation Organization).
Apparently, in order to show its donors how their contributions were being used and to raise additional funds, in the spring of 1940, the Joint asked a professional photographer to document this activity and prepare an impressive series of photos. When the work was completed, the photos were developed in the Foto Forbert photo lab, which was located at 11 Wierzbowa St. outside the ghetto. This store was owned by a man named Baum, and he may have been the photographer. In any event, 462 photos were chosen by the store, and they were mounted on yellow cardboard sheets that included short descriptions, as well as the name and address of the institution shown in the photo.
It is not clear who received these albums and what became of them during the war, but afterwards
copies of them made their way to the Yad Vashem Archives and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (ZIH).