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Woman in famous WWII kiss photo dies at 92

By AFP September 12th, 2016 1 min read

The woman dramatically kissed by a sailor celebrating the end of World War II in an iconic photograph seen around the world has died, according to The New York Times. She was 92.

Greta Zimmer Friedman passed away from pneumonia, her son Joshua Friedman told the paper.

Then a 21-year-old dental assistant, Friedman was grabbed and kissed by an elated sailor in New York’s Times Square on Aug 14, 1945 as news spread that Japan had surrendered and WWII would end.

Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt shot the iconic image, which would endure as a defining 20th century American photograph after it ran as a full page in Life magazine.


The 2012 book “The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II” published by the Naval Institute Press identified the pair as Friedman and George Mendonsa.

Though their passionate embrace might indicate otherwise, Friedman and Mendonsa did not know each other and never had a romantic relationship. In fact, the sailor’s future wife, Rita Mendonsa, can be seen grinning above his shoulder in the photograph.

In a 2005 interview archived by the Veterans History Project, Friedman said she had never seen the image until the 1960s when she looked at a book of Eisenstaedt photography.

“I’m not sure about the kiss… it was just somebody celebrating,” Friedman recalled in that interview. “It wasn’t a romantic event. It was just an event of ‘thank God the war is over.'”