Sunday 25 September 2016

The Kiss goodbye: woman in iconic war photo dies

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

George Mendonsa plants a kiss on a surprised Greta Friedman in Times Square in this version of the scene captured by photographer Victor Jorgensen. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy/Victor Jorgensen, File)
George Mendonsa plants a kiss on a surprised Greta Friedman in Times Square in this version of the scene captured by photographer Victor Jorgensen. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy/Victor Jorgensen, File)

The woman in an iconic photo shown kissing an ecstatic sailor in New York's Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died aged 92.

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Greta Zimmer Friedman, who fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old, died at a hospital in Virginia, according to son Joshua.

George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman
George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman

Greta Friedman was a 21-year-old dental assistant in a nurse's uniform when she became part of one of the most famous scenes of the 20th century.

On August 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered to the US, people spilled into the New York City streets celebrating the news.

That's when George Mendonsa spotted Friedman, spun her around and planted a kiss. The two had never met. In fact, Mendonsa was on a date with a nurse, Rita Petry, who would later become his wife.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt is called 'V-J Day in Times Square,' but is known to most as 'The Kiss'.

Another image from a different angle was taken by US Navy photographer Victor Jorgensen but it was Eisenstaedt's photo that became seared in people's minds.

His photo was first published in 'Life' magazine, buried deep within its pages. But over the years, the photo gained recognition, and several people claimed to be the kissing couple.

"It wasn't that much of a kiss," Ms Friedman said in 2005. "It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event."

Irish Independent

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