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Roman Vishniac, a biologist and photographer renowned for his recording of Jewish life in Eastern Europe on the eve of the Holocaust, died Monday at age 92 of colon cancer.

"He used to say he took Hitler seriously and therefore he took the pictures," said a relative, Jesse Cherry. "Everything he photographed was subsequently destroyed."

He was born in Russia and studied zoology and biology in Moscow. After World War I, he went to Berlin as a medical science photographer.

Vishniac soon turned his camera on his surroundings and the Nazi demonstrations he saw. Because any Jew with a camera was suspect, he often posed as a Nazi to take the pictures.

Just before World War II, he fled to France and came with his family to the United States in 1940.

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