The Aushwitz Album

The only surviving photo album from Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Really heart-rending. Neither mundane nor pointless, but I didn’t know where else to put it.


Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been looking at it and just damn! I mean those pictures of all those women and children waiting to be sent to the gas chambers. :frowning:

I know. It has been a long time since I’d brushed up on my Holocaust history, but I had completely forgotten that (at least at Auschwitz) most of the women and almost all the children were essentially immediately murdered. All those children…damn.

My grandmother and great-aunt survived Aushwitz. Sadly, before the war they had 12 siblings.

Also sadly, they could not stand each other. I wasn’t even allowed to know my cousins. Showing any interest in them would result in hysterical screaming, crying, self-injury, etc. My parents put their foot down and attended my one cousin’s Bar Mitzvah (the first time we had met). This apparently caused a rift lasting several years.

Apparently that experience will either give major insight into the human spirit, or just fuck you up proper for the rest of your life.

You would think surviving an experience like that would unite a family, not divide it.

PTSD has many faces, would be my assumption. That album is one heck of an indictment.

Thanks for sharing this. Actually, there is another photo album from Auschwitz. It was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives in '07. It was the personal album of SS-Obersturmführer Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the commandant of Auschwitz, and has pictures of his time there from May 1944 until the evacuation of the camp in January 1945.

The album you linked to was at one time thought to be the only one, and that is discussed in section 3, “A Tale Of Two Albums” where it is suggested that “…it is critically important to view the two albums side by side, because they allow us to witness how the SS created two alternative views of reality.”

Interesting. How weird that the SS album is an exercise in some type of denial, or, as the article states, amorality.

I visited Auschwitz last year. I had been to the Holocaust Museum and have read a considerable amount on the subject…but nothing prepared me for that experience. The biggest shock was how unbelievably huge the place is. When you hear numbers like 1 million, 1.5 million…it is hard to conceptualize, at least for me. But seeing the vastness of that camp was staggering.

The pictures of piles of dead bodies did not bother me nearly as much as the pictures of living people-and they have tons of them in the museum there. The look of terror, fear, uncertainty, desolation and stress on their faces was so haunting. And the ‘standing room’ was gut wrenching to see. I brought a camera but could not bring myself to take any pictures.

For some reason, a memory that really stuck with me is that someone had placed a bouquet of flowers with an Israeli flag at the black wall, and flowers and a candle inside the gas chamber. I can’t even describe the feelings I had while there and for a long time after. It was a feeling of complete devastation…not just at the horrific suffering and cruelty, but also because it was perpetrated by people just like you and me. Positively devastating. I will never understand it.

In the early 1900s, my grandfather came to this country from Poland, and over the years, as he could afford it, he brought his siblings here as well. But there was a huge extended family who didn’t come here, supposedly hundreds of relatives. After the war my grandfather discovered that not one of them survived. When I see photos of the death camps I always wonder whether I’m seeing some of my relatives. And I’m also damn grateful to my grandfather.

Couldn’t make it through too many pages of either album. Thanks for sharing them both.

My condolences for your great losses, panache.

I’m eternally grateful that there were resistances built up in many countries to protect and save as many of our ancestors as possible, as well as men of enormous integrity who refused to wear the Nazi uniform. Well-known names such as Oskar Schindler, Charles de Gaulle, Jean Moulin; lesser-known names such as Franz Jägerstätter and unknown names of the hundreds of everyday people who risked their own lives to save others.

My husband’s grandfathers on both sides are among those many. One joined the Danish Resistance and collected midnight drops of munitions and supplies, and the other, being German, asked to be assigned to a mountain regiment with the intent of using that position as a means to escape. He surrendered to the French at his earliest opportunity and spent the duration of the war as a POW in an Italian prison rather than be part of the Nazis’ evil.

Those are the images I’d rather keep in the forefront of my mind.

May we never forget. :frowning:

My mom’s last memory of her mother and younger sister was of them walking, hand in hand, to the chambers at Auschwitz. Most had died in the ghetto prior to the liquidation. My mom and three of her older sisters survived the ghetto and the camps.

ETA: Can’t look at the album. I’m terrified to see my mom, aunts or my dad (who was there also).

All I have to say is…wow. How humbling. Its “times like these” that remind me of how fortunate I truly am.

Its amazing to me how in instances such as this, humankind can descend into the darkest of evils perpetrated upon fellow man.

Thankfully at least amongst civilized nations, we don’t see this kind of incredible abuse anymore.

I can’t take my eyes off the eyes of the children in those pictures. They have no idea what’s about to happen to them.

I hope this is okay to put this here…

My grandfather was one of the US soldiers in Patton’s 3rd Army who liberated Buchenwald, and he snuck a camera in with him that day. We’ve digitized some of them, and you can see a few of them here.

It’s a long story, but my mother was able to track down the little toddler you see in one of them (picture labeled “Concentration camp inmates”), and my grandfather was able to meet him a few years ago. Here they are with my aunt.

I don’t understand why the Nazis went to the trouble of giving all the people in Auschwitz not only striped prison uniforms but also coats and even caps. What difference did it make if they were all just going to be executed? I really, really don’t get this.

Most were used as slave labor first.

“Man-eating dog den”? What the fuck?!!

:: weeps ::

Its still so surreal. We talk about waterboarding 9/11 suspects and the outrage for that (not that this is okay), but…good Lord…the camp prisoners were lucky to even be prisoners!

I have some dear friends whose parents somehow escaped the concentration camps. They say that their parents would never talk about the atrocities.

The photos show the selection process being undertaken on the ramps. As I understand it, the vast majority were killed when they arrived without ever becoming camp inmates. They weren’t given uniforms. They were the ones subjected to the pretence that they had to tie their shoes together so they would be able to locate them after the “showers” etc.

The minority who were selected for work were given what were essentially prison uniforms. They were starved, overworked and not fed properly, which meant that they underwent regular selections themselves. As their health declined and their work capacity decreased, they were then selected for the crematoria. The minority who were selected to work from the trains replaced them as needed.