The people he photographed are famous, and famous are his portraits and cityscapes. The name of the photographer, however, is little known so far. Fred Stein is one of the pioneers of small-format photography of the 1930s and 1940s. The oeuvre of the man who only became a photographer by happenstance is a moving and dynamic testimony of 20th-century history. Stein created impressive pictures of cities and people. Born in Dresden in 1909 as the son of a rabbi, he became a stalwart socialist and was forced to leave his home town when the National Socialists came to power. Together with his wife Lilo, he fled to Paris on the pretext of a honeymoon in 1933. An aspiring lawyer, Stein then needed to follow a new career path-for which the wedding gift of a Leica 35mm camera turned out to be the key. The hardships of flight and emigration revealed his outstanding talent as a sensitive portrait and street photographer. First in Paris and then, after 1941, in his New York exile, Fred Stein on his forays through the city became an "ethnologist of the urban space," his eye always out for special moments and the poetry of the metropolis. A silent observer, his pictures would capture typical scenes and places, as well as the special quality of life in the city. In a similar way, his portraits testify to the unobtrusive proximity in his relationship with people. The list of those portrayed reads like a Who's Who of 20th-century history: Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, Willy Brandt, Arnold Zweig, Egon Erwin Kisch, Bertold Brecht, Marlene Dietrich, Salvador Dali, Martin Buber, Thomas Mann. His photographs are characterized by a profound humanity and a subtle sense of humor. As a humanist intellectual, he photographed more than just the perfect moment and never lost sight of the overall picture. In his picture stories Stein proves a masterful photographer of modernity, with a view full of empathy for his environment and his fellow human beings. This catalog shows a high quality selection of Fred Stein's most important photographs and at the same time provides an illustrated biography of the artist's life. It was written and selected in close cooperation with Fred's son, Peter Stein, who administers his father's oeuvre.