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Greta Friedman, Nurse in the Iconic World War II ‘Kiss Photo’ Dies

At Times Square, the sailor embraced Greta Friedman, and kissed her to celebrate the end of the war.

Updated
World
2 min read
‘VJ Day in Times Square’, the iconic photo of a sailor kissing Greta Friedman at the end of the second World War. (Photo: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/luqmanyamin/status/667004878552608769">Luqman al zauj</a>)

Greta Friedman, the woman kissed by a sailor in the iconic picture taken in New York’s Times Square, after the end of World war II was announced in 1945, has passed away.

Her son Joshua Friedman told CNN she died of pneumonia at an assisted living home in Richmond, Virginia. She was 92.

The iconic black-and-white photograph of Friedman, dressed in a white uniform, and a jubilant sailor kissing her on the mouth to celebrate the end of the second World War, was taken unbeknownst to them.

Captured by sheer chance in a fleeting moment by photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt, the image has become one of the most famous images of the war.

It appeared in LIFE magazine a few weeks later, and the mystery of who the couple was in the picture continued until 1980.

‘VJ Day in Times Square’, the iconic photo of a sailor kissing Greta Friedman at the end of the second World War. (Photo: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/luqmanyamin/status/667004878552608769">Luqman al zauj</a>)
‘VJ Day in Times Square’, the iconic photo of a sailor kissing Greta Friedman at the end of the second World War. (Photo: Twitter/Luqman al zauj)
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My mom had so many stories and so many experiences; this was just one of many.
Joshua Friedman

Friedman was 21 years old at the time and was a dental assistant. She was in Times Square when the news of Japan’s surrender to the US was announced on a billboard, marking the end of the war.

Incidentally, the sailor, later identified as George Mendonsa, was on a date with another woman that day, whom he later went on to marry.

Several critics of the photograph say the sailor had grabbed Friedman without her consent, and violated her agency. Mendonsa said he had had a lot to drink that day, on occasion of the war ending and the two of them in fact were perfect strangers.

Problematic or not, the kiss between the two strangers has been immortalised through ‘VJ Day in Times Square’.

(With inputs from IANS)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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