Album of Auschwitz

The Auschwitz Album is an exceptional photographic collection of the Holocaust that occurred during World War II . These are photos taken in a death camp Nazi located in Oswiecim , Poland . It is the only pictorial evidence of the extermination process from inside the concentration camp Auschwitz Birkenau. The pictures were mostly taken by the Nazis themselves, but three of them prisoners taken by the group of Sonderkommando Jews.

The original purpose of the photos was never determined. They may have been taken by Ernst Hofmann or by Bernhard Walter , two men of the SS responsible for taking fingerprints and photos of identity of those prisoners who were not selected for extermination.

The album consists of 56 pages and 193 photos. The collection originally had many more photos, but before being donated to the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem , some of them were ceded to survivors who recognized relatives and friends.

The images document in detail the process of the Jewish newcomers from Hungary in the early summer of 1944 . Document how they were taken down from the freight cars, the selection process carried out by the medical staff of the SS and camp guards, separating those considered fit for work from those who would be sent to the gas chambers. The photographer followed both the groups selected for the job until leaving the camp and the groups selected to die until the entrance to the crematoria, where they had to wait their turn to be executed.

The photographer also documented the work in the area called Canada , where the prisoners’ belongings were classified to be sent to Germany .

It is remarkable that the album has been found, given the efforts made by the Nazis to keep secret the final solution . Prisoner Lilly Jacob (later named Lilly Jacob-Zelmanovic Meier) was the only member of her family selected to work in Auschwitz-Birkenau at the time of the evacuation of the camp, as Soviet troops approached. Jacob, left in the place by its state of health, walked through several fields, arriving finally to the concentration camp Dora , of which it was released. He spent some time recuperating from his illness in the barracks of soldiers abandoned by the SS. Jacob found the album in a drawer next to a bed, also found photos of his relatives and other members of his community. The coincidence is surprising because none of the people in the photos were locked up with Jacob, and she was never aware of their passing through Auschwitz.

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The Polish prisoner Wilhelm Brasse took tens of thousands of images of prisoners, working as a photographer for the Germans in Auschwitz .