holocaust

Sep

14

1943

Auschwitz: selected to work by Mengele

Hoess the commandant of Auschwitz tours Buna with Himmler.

Then a number of civilians came to the block. They were accompanied by Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz. The consensus of our block supervisors indicated that they were from I.G. Farben, a large German pharmaceutical company that already employed prisoners in the nearby Buna camp. At Buna, the I.G. Farben Company was making synthetic rubber. There, we were told, the inmate death rate was very high, and they had a continuous need for replacement workers. We believed that it could only be better than our present situation. We just wanted to get out of here.

Aug

2

1943

A desperate escape attempt from Treblinka

Smoke rising from Treblinka on the 2nd August 1943, a picture taken by the Polish underground.

Shots are heard from all sides. The Ukrainians, whom our comrades have lured from the watchtowers, lie dead. Two S.S. excavator operators are dead. We head for the barbed wire shouting: – Revolgutsga v Berline! (Russian: Revolution in Berlin!) Several of the Ukrainians become disorientated and put up their hands. Their weapons are taken from them. We cut the wires one after the other. We are already at the third barbed-wire fence.

Jul

21

1943

The Jews are blamed as the war goes badly

Germany was now desperate for labour as more and more men were called up.  The solution was bringing in ' volunteer' workers from around occupied Europe. A group of workers somewhere in the 'East' who are being encouraged by their Mayor to volunteer, according to the caption.

The military situation – I am listening to the radio again now – appears very depressing for Germany, and so the Jew-baiting is on the increase again. Feder came to work very down. A new poster has been stuck up on Wiener Strasse: A Sturmer charicature of a Jew wearing the star; legend: ”Who is to blame for the war? — He is!” Abuse had been shouted at him twice on his way to Schluters [the factory where they were forced to work].

Jun

30

1943

The SS report that Galicia, Poland is judenfrei

At first the Jews of Eastern Europe had been forced into  ghettos. The Nazis took pictures of the very basic conditions they were forced to live in. By now most of the men women and children were dead.

There were also other immense difficulties during the Aktionen as the Jews tried to avoid evacuation by all possible means. They not only tried to escape, and concealed themselves in the most improbable places, drainage canals, chimneys, even in sewage pits, etc. They barricaded themselves in catacombs of passages, in cellars made into bunkers, in holes in the earth, in cunningly contrived hiding places, in attics and sheds, inside furniture, etc. As the number of Jews still remaining decreased their resistance became the greater. They used weapons of all types for their defense, and in particular those of Italian origin.

Jun

29

1943

A hot day for the SS sadists in Treblinka

An abstract sketch of a figure, possibly a young child. Mary Kessel, Belsen 1945

Ivan is about twenty years old and looks like a giant healthy horse. He is pleased when he has an opportunity to let off his energy on the workers. From time to time he feels the urge to take a sharp knife, detain a worker who is running past and cut off his ear. The blood spurts, the worker screams, but he must keep running with his litter. Ivan waits calmly until the worker runs back and orders him to put the litter down. He then tells him to strip and go over to the pit, where he shoots him.

Jun

7

1943

Nazis consider sterilising Jewish women workforce

The leader of the SS Heinrich Himmler, during a visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp where prisoners endured starvation and hard labour excavating stone in the quarries.

The method I contrived to achieve the sterilization of the female organism without operation is as good as perfected. It can be performed by a single injection made through the entrance of the uterus in the course of the customary gynecological examination known to every physician. If I say that the method is “as good as perfected”

Jun

4

1943

Dutch Jews arrive at the death ‘camp’ Sobibor

Railway personnel in front of the small station of Sobibor opposite the camp.

I was so taken aback and distracted by having had all our possessions taken from us, that although I had seen an SS man at some point, I never noticed, until it was too late, that the women had been sent in a different direction. Suddenly Rachel was no longer walking beside me. It happened so quickly that I had not even be able to kiss her or call out to her. Trying to look around to see if I could spot her somewhere, an SS man snapped at me to look straight ahead and to keep my “Maul (gob) shut.”

May

18

1943

SS inspectors assess the efficiency of Auschwitz

The main gate at Auschwitz - Arbeit Mach Frei - work will set you free.

Everything proceeds in a perfectly orderly fashion. Then they pass through a small corridor and enter a large cellar room which resembles a shower bath. In this room are three large pillars, into which certain materials can be lowered from outside the cellar room. When three- to four-hundred people have been herded into this room, the doors are shut, and containers filled with the substances are dropped down into the pillars.

May

7

1943

The End approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Photo from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943. The original German caption reads: "These bandits resisted by force of arms". Picture taken at Nowolipie street looking East, near intersection with Smocza street. In the back one can see ghetto wall with a gate.

The fire destroys everything. The sight is horrifying, shocking. The fire spreads so quickly that people cannot escape from the buildings and they perish tragically. People with bundles run from house to house, from street to street. There is no salvation; no one knows where to hide. They search in desperation but there is no deliverance, no refuge, death rules everything. The walls of the ghetto are surrounded. No one goes out and no one comes in. Clothing is burning on people’s bodies. Screams of pain, sobbing. Everyone wants to be saved, everyone tries to save his own life.

Apr

29

1943

Conditions inside the burning Warsaw ghetto

The original German caption reads: "Destruction of a housing block". A housing block burns during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

After their attempts to penetrate the Ghetto had failed, they decided to to spare themselves casualties by destroying it from outside with cannon and aerial bombings. A few days later the Ghetto was totally destroyed. Those who survived continued living in bunkers. Apparently the Germans concluded there weren’t many Jews left in the Ghetto and decided it was safe to enter during the day.