- A group of Nazi officers stand in front of a building in Solahuette, the SS retreat outside of Auschwitz.
Pictured facing the camera, second from the left, is Karl Hoecker. Next to him is SS-Obersturmführer Max Sell, between 1943 and 1945 first Arbeitseinsatzführer in Auschwitz and afterwards in Mittelbau-Dora.
[Based on the officers visiting Solahutte, we surmise that the photographs were taken to honor Rudolf Hoess who completed his tenure as garrison senior on July 29.]
Circa 1944 July 22 - 1944 July 29
- Solahutte, [Upper Silesia; Auschwitz] Poland
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Anonymous Donor
- Event History
- The Hoecker 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 Obersturmfuehrer Karl Hoecker, the adjutant to the last commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Richard Baer. This album also depicts other noted SS camp officers, including Rudolf Hoess, Josef Kramer, Franz Hoessler and Dr. Josef Mengele. These are the only known photographs of some of these men taken at the Auschwitz complex.
The album includes both documentation of official visits and ceremonies, as well as more personal photographs depicting the myriad of SS social activities. The earliest photos show the June visits first of Lufwaffe General Erich Quade and of SS Obergruppenfuerhers 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 Solahuette, 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 Hoess 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. The album also contains photographs of their funeral. 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.
See Also "Auschwitz Main Camp" in Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, Volume 1 Part A.