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January 31, 2015

How the New York Times reported the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:24 am

Poland Auschwitz Anniversary

The New York Times news story about the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 was reprinted this year in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz complex. The photo above was used to illustrate the news story.

I have visited Auschwitz twice, in 1998 and again in 2005, but I did not see this sign; the photo appears to have been taken in the main Auschwitz camp. I believe that this ominous sign has been added recently for the benefit of millions of tourists who flock to see the Auschwitz “Murder Factory.”

This quote is from the original New York Times article:

Saved from “Murder Factory”

MOSCOW, Feb. 2 [1945] (U.P.) —-The Newspaper Pravda reported today that the Red Army had saved several thousand tortured, emaciated inmates of the Germans’ greatest “murder factory” at Oswiecim [Oświęcim] in southwest Poland.
Pravda’s corespondent said fragmentary reports indicated that at least 1,500,000 persons were slaughtered at Oswiecim. During 1941, 1942 and early 1943 five trains arrived daily at Oswiecim with Russians Poles, Jews, Czechs, French and Yugoslaves jammed in sealed cars.

Oświęcim  is the Polish name for Auschwitz.  In 1945, the town was still known as Auschwitz, it’s original name. I blogged about this on a previous blog post at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/whats-in-a-name-auschwitz-and-birkenau/

I took photos of the warning signs on my two visits to Auschwitz. My photos are shown below.

Warning sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz main camp

Warning sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz main camp

A faded original sign at the Auschwitz main camp

A faded original sign at the Auschwitz main camp

To get back to the original New York Times article, note that the news story says that 1,500,000 people were murdered in the camp.

At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, the Soviets reported that 4 million people had been killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Now we know that the original report claimed that 1.5 million were killed; this number is now on the stones at the International monument, but the official claim now is that only 1.1 million people were  killed at Auschwitz, most of whom were Jews.

Note that the New York Times news report says that “During 1941, 1942 and early 1943 five trains arrived daily at [Oświęcim] with Russians Poles, Jews, Czechs, French and Yugoslaves jammed in sealed cars.”

It is now known that, after 1943, it was mostly Jews who arrived on the trains to Auschwitz.

Inside the Auschwitz main camp

Inside the Auschwitz main camp

The Auschwitz Visitors Center, the first stop for tourists

The Auschwitz Visitors Center, the first stop for tourists

Artwork in the Auschwitz Museum

My 2005 photo of Artwork in the Auschwitz Museum Visitors Center