The Auschwitz Album: Visual Evidence of the Process Leading to the Mass Murder

The Auschwitz Album is the only surviving visual evidence of the process leading to the mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The photos were taken at the end of May or beginning of June 1944, either by Ernst Hofmann or by Bernhard Walter, two SS men whose task was to take ID photos and fingerprints of the inmates (not of the Jews who were sent directly to the gas chambers). The photos show the arrival of Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia. Many of them came from the Berehovo Ghetto, which itself was a collecting point for Jews from several other small towns.

Comments (1)

(1) Bobby5000, July 20, 2018 1:32 PM

the sadness of powerlessness

The legacy of the Jews was powerlessness, cooperation, and mostly death. After turning over homes and property, Jews readily reported to centers where they were either killed or sent to these horrible places. Had they resisted, the scope of this tragedy would have been dramatically less, 10 Jews could have arranged for fires at German installations, 10 could have impersonated Gestapo agents, 10 could have spread notices with misinformation, 10 could have arranged surprise attacks at German facilities at 3:00 A.M., The purchase of machines guns in Jewish areas would have inflicted some casualties instead of providing easy turnover of property and reinforcing the image of complete power that motivated Germans from 1935-1941. I had a family member who was a Seal and one cannot imagine what a single trained person can do.

The likely response would have been public and brutal retaliation which have saved lives by alerting Jews to the upcoming tragedy rather than disguising murder as relocation. These lessons were not lost on Israel. Threats would be respected not minimized, retaliation would follow those who killed Jews, physical force would be known as a necessary tool along with intelligence. And today, we must be alert to the suffering of others and recognize the words of empathy in the Torah.


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