Photos

Nurse in the legendary 'VJ Day' kiss in Times Square New York dies at 92

By Menahem Zen / 2016.09.14
Happy sailor kissing nurse in Times Square during impromptu VJ Day celebration following announcement of the Japanese surrender and the end of WWII.

Greta Zimmer Friedman, a nurse in the iconic photo of celebration for Victory over Japan Day or 'VJ Day" died last week in RIchmond, Virginia on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the age of 92.

Her son, Joshua Friedman told NBC News that his mother passed away after a series of ailments from osteoporosis, a broken hip and pneumonia. He also said that she told him that she had done nothing to deserve a place in the American history.

"The photo means a lot to so many people," Joshua said. "My mother always felt like it wasn't anything she did, it was something that happened to her."

The iconic photo was taken by Life magazine's photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt during a celebration of Allied force victory over Japan. In his entire career, Eisenstaedt was known for his ability to capture memorable moments of historical events. That includes the memorable kiss in Times Square between Zimmer Friedman and a sailor on Aug. 14 1945.

She was 21 at that time and worked as dental assistant Lexington Ave as reported by New York Daily News. Since the morning She had heard rumor about the surrender of Japan, therefore she went out to find out about the news in the afternoon.

When she came to Times Square, suddenly an unknown sailor grabbed her and kissed her. Eisenstaedt who stood nearby captured the kissing moment with his Leica IIIa camera. A week later, Life magazine made his picture as its front cover.

The next day, after Eisenstaedt took his iconic photo, a United States Navy photo journalist Victor Jorgensen recreated similar photo of the same scene with another pair of nurse and sailor. Jorgensen's photo was published in the New York Times.

Greta Zimmer Friedman was born on June 5, 1924 in Austria from a Jewish family. She left the country in 1939 with her sister to America. They were among the last Jewish people who were allowed to leave Nazi-occupied Austria.

She never returned to Austria ever since. Later on, Friedman found out that her parents had died in the Nazi concentration camp.

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