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Woman in Iconic V-J Day Times Square Kiss Dies at 92

1940s | September 12, 2016

Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman shown kissed by an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II 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.

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The Story Behind The Photo

As news spread that Japan had surrendered and WWII would end, that's George Mendonsa spotted Friedman, then a 21-year-old dental assistant, grabbed and kissed her in New York's Times Square on August 14, 1945 .

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.

Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt shot the scene, and the photo became an iconic 20th century American photograph after it ran as a full page in Life magazine.

Though their passionate embrace might indicate otherwise, Friedman and Mendonsa did not know each other and never had a romantic relationship. In fact, Mendonsa's future wife, Rita Petry, can be seen grinning above his shoulder in the some photos of the same scene.

In a 2005 interview archived by the Veterans History Project, Greta Zimmer 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.'"

Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Dr. Misha Friedman.

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