Scrapbookpages Blog

March 8, 2012

New book of photos shows Auschwitz then and now

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:47 am

The cover of a new book entitled Auschwitz-Birkenau The Place Where You are Standing

I made the photo of the cover of a new book entitled Auschwitz-Birkenau The Place Where You are Standing as big as I could, so that one can clearly see that the two photos don’t match.

My photo of the guard tower at Auschwitz-Birkenau that was not there in May 1944.

Why did the people, who are in charge of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, build a flimsy guard tower where no guard tower existed when the camp was in operation?

Think about it for a moment!  Auschwitz-Birkenau was an extermination camp.  Jews were brought there on trains for the purpose of being gassed to death. Yet the old photo shows no guard tower, no dogs, no guns — nothing to prevent the 3,000 prisoners, who were getting off the train, from rioting and beating the Nazi murderers to death.  The guard tower was added later to show that the prisoners were controlled by a guard in a tower, pointing a gun at them.

Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau have just gotten off a transport train  (photo from Auschwitz Album)

The German soldier in the photo above looks to me like a decent fellow.  It appears that he is straightening the collar of a Jewish prisoner, who has his coat unbuttoned, and his collar is in disarray.  But maybe I’m wrong; maybe he is saying: “You’re too old to work — off to the gas chamber with you!”  It does not appear that the SS man in the photo is armed.  He had better watch out for Geza Lajtbs, the woman in the foreground. She could be carrying a knife or a gun and kill him while he is distracted.

Photo from the Auschwitz Album, taken in May 1944

Location of the building (shown in the old photo above) that has been torn down

My 2005 photo of a building at Auschwitz-Birkenau

I identified the building shown in the photo above as the building where the women are standing in the old photo. The building in my photo does not match the old photo exactly, but it is very similar.  The building in my photo is located on the south side of the main road, in the women’s camp, and the building in the background is the gatehouse.  The photo in the new book was taken on the north side of the Birkenau camp, a long way from the women’s camp; the building in the background of the photo in the book was formerly an administration building that was outside the camp.

A friend who was reading this post, as I was typing, pointed out that the cover photo consists of two photos, each of which have been torn in two.  He thought that the old photo on the left side actually showed the guard tower in the part of the photo that had been torn off.  I am showing the original photo below, so that everyone can see that the old photo did not show a guard tower.

Old photo from the Auschwitz Album that is used on cover of a new book

In the old photo above, the man who is facing the camera and holding a cigarette at chest height is Dr. Josef Mengele. Note that he does not appear to be armed and he has turned his back on the male prisoners who could have easily thrown him to the ground and beaten him to death with their bare hands.

In the old photo above, the Jews, who are lined up, are moments away from being gassed in Krema II or Krema III, two gas chambers which are behind the camera, only a few yards away.  The official website for the new book is here.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks FG.

    Have you seen this footage from 1945, I’m no expert, but it seems to include some of the Soviet propaganda film and additional footage.
    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/auschwitz-concentration-camp-reel-1/query/Auschwitz

    @ 0:20 some guard towers were stripped, presumably for firewood, here’s a video still, I’m not sure where these were. Any thoughts?

    @ 1:29 this is Krema II, I’ve compared it to your photo

    Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — March 11, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    • Yes, the video includes footage of the film taken by the Soviets after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The survivors don’t appear to be happy. They look angry, probably because they have been dragged out of their warm beds and lined up to be photographed. Notice that some are wrapped up in comforters. Most of them look healthy. Did they recover their health in the few short weeks before this film was taken? The children marching out of the camp look remarkably healthy.

      The guard towers, that are shown in the video, were located along the fences so that the guards could shoot anyone who tried to crawl under the fence. The fake towers that have been added recently are along the road near the railroad tracks. The new fake towers are not the same shape as the old ones.

      The photo that you identified as Krema II shows what looks like the women’s kitchen in the background, so it is probably Krema II.

      Are you sure that the first part of the film was taken in 1945? Were people coming to Birkenau to lay wreaths of flowers and to put up memorials to French Jews in 1945?

      Comment by furtherglory — March 11, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  2. The Nazis killed 960,000 Jews at Auschwitz & Birkenau, by forcing them to attempt a climb into the “death towers”.

    Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — March 8, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    • You should publish your own book of photos of Auschwitz, comparing the present day to the time when the camp was open. The first link seems to be to a photo that was taken on the north side of the camp, near the gatehouse. I was there in 2005 and I don’t recall that there were so many guard towers on the north side. I did notice that there was no way to climb into the tower on the south side, which I photographed. It never occurred to me that this was another way of killing the prisoners, by forcing them to attempt a climb into one of the towers.

      P.S. I checked my website to see if I took a photo of the north side of the gate house, and it turns out that I did. Go to http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Birkenau/Gatehouse.html and look at the fourth photo on the page. I took this photo to show how close the houses are the camp. I’m not sure, but I think the houses were built later. The comparsion of your photo to my photo shows that the guard towers have been added recently. When I was at Auschwitz, I took photos to illustrate some point that I wanted to make, so my photos are not artistic like your photos. Your photos could definitely be made into a book.

      Comment by furtherglory — March 9, 2012 @ 7:49 am


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