SS Auschwitz album
The album consists of 116 photographs taken during the last six months of Auschwitz, between June 1944 and January 1945. The album shows Auschwitz during its most lethal period, coinciding with the murder of 400,000 Hungarian Jews. However, these events are alluded to only indirectly. The album was compiled by Obersturmführer Karl Höcker, the adjutant to Richard Baer, the last commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This album also depicts other noted SS camp officers, including Rudolf Höss, Josef Kramer, Franz Hössler and Dr. Josef Mengele. These are the only known photographs of some of these men taken at the Auschwitz complex.
The album includes documentation of official visits and ceremonies, but also personal photographs depicting SS social activities. The earliest photos show the June visits first of Luftwaffe General Erich Quade and of SS Obergruppenführers Oswald Pohl and Ernst-Heinrich Schmauser. Pohl came to Auschwitz to inspect new construction in preparation for the "Judenaktion" (i.e. arrival of Hungarian Jews) and commented on the insufficient camouflaging of the crematoriums and gas chambers. Many of photographs are taken at Solahütte, an SS resort some 30 km south of the main camp of Auschwitz. Included in these photos are scenes of a late July gathering in honor of Rudolph Höss and a day trip for SS Helferinnen (young SS women who worked as communications specialists) on July 22, 1944. Several pages depict a ceremony surrounding the groundbreaking of the SS-Lazarette (troop hospital) at the entrance to Birkenau, which took place most likely in mid-September. The Lazarette was later bombed by the Allies on December 26th, 1944, killing 5 members of the SS, whose funeral is also represented in the album. Chronologically the final photographs show the lighting of a Yule tree and a hunting trip the first week of January. Only two weeks later, the SS began evacuating the camp, and the Soviet Army liberated the remaining prisoners on January 27, 1945.
Record last modified: 2022-05-06 13:26:54
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