Heroine of photo symbolising German WWII atrocities passes away

The Institute of National Remembrance announced that Kazimiera Mika, the heroine of Julien Bryan's 1939 photo, passed away on August 28, 2020. The iconic photo shows her crying over the body of her sister who was shot by a German pilot during WWII.

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Kazimiera Mika was 13 years old when on September 13, 1939, her 14-year-old sister Anna was shot while working in the field by a German pilot. The scene in which the girl cries over her sister's body was recorded by the American photographer Julien Bryan, who captured the little girl’s pain and shock. The photo travelled around the world at a rapid pace and became a symbol of German bestiality in occupied Poland. Years later, he still remembered that day as the most tragic day during his stay in besieged Warsaw.

"The girl stared at us in bewilderment. I put my arm around her and tried to comfort her. She was crying. I was crying too, and so were the two Polish officers who accompanied me. What could we, what could anyone else tell this child?" Julien Bryan reported.

After the war, he returned to Poland a few times, and met with Ms Mika twice. She managed to recover from her tragedy but never forgot it. According to Mr Bryan the woman still remembered his attempts to comfort her.