The next photo is of the gateway into the Auschwitz I concentration camp complex in the town of Oswiecim, Poland. (Auschwitz is German for Oswiecim). The inscription means "Work Brings Freedom" and was erected over the entrance by Rudolf Hoess, the first commandant and major architect of the camp. This is actually the smaller portion of the overall complex, the larger being Birkenau, which is a short distance away. The camp was in operation from 1940 to 1945 when it was abandoned as the Soviet Army approached. Through this gate marched thousands of prisoners, daily, on their way to slave labour and death.
The next photo is a close-up of the sign "Work Brings Freedom" at the gateway into the Auschwitz I concentration camp complex.
The next photo is of the entrance into the crematorium at the Auschwitz I concentration camp complex. This building had been a former Polish Army bunker that the Germans converted into a crematorium. The inside of the building was destroyed by the Nazis before they evacuated the camp as the Soviet Army was closing in.
The next photo is of the ‘courtyard of death’ adjacent to the Cellblock 11 building at the Auschwitz I concentration camp complex. Straight ahead in the centre is the firing wall where prisoners met their deaths by firing squad. Sometimes, death was administered by a small calibre pistol shot to the back of the neck. On the left hand side are two whipping posts where prisoners were flogged. Not only Jews were killed here, but political prisoners, communists, German citizens who spoke against Hitler and homosexuals. The prisoners were first stripped of their clothing in the building on the right and then marched, nude, in front of the firing wall, and then executed.
The next photo is of a collection of eyeglasses confiscated from prisoners upon their arrival at the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. These eyeglasses were recycled to be used by Germans during World War II.
The next photo is of a stack of empty Cyclone B gas cans that were found when the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945. Five to six cans of gas could kill 1,500 people, according to testimony of the camp's commandant, Rudolf Hoess. Cyclone B is a insecticide that was first tried out on 900 Soviet Prisoners of war. Hoess wanted a way of conducting mass Killings that wasn't psychologically damaging to the SS men. The use of machine guns resulted in suicide and heavy drinking among the SS, so, in Hoess' words, killing prisoners with Cyclone B was impersonal and an easier way of killing.
The next photo is of a mountain of shoes that were confiscated from children as they arrived at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp complex. The SS sent children aged 16 and under immediately to their deaths in the gas chambers upon arrival at the camp. These shoes were left behind when the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945.
The next photo is of the hanging gallows at the Auschwitz 1 Concentration camp complex. The SS conducted public hangings on these gallows that the prisoners were forced to watch. These hangings were used as an act of intimidation. The largest mass hanging on these gallows occurred on July 19, 1943 when 12 Polish men were hung at the same time. They were accused of helping 3 prisoners escape and for maintaining contact with the outside world.
This is a photo of a section of what was once a highly electrified barbed wire that surrounded the perimeter of the Auschwitz 1 concentration camp complex. The buildings behind the fence are some of the various cell blocks. These buildings had once been Polish Army barracks.
The next photo is of a section of what was once a highly electrified barbed wire that surrounded the perimeter of the Auschwitz I Concentration Camp comple x.
The next photo is of Cell Block #10 at Auschwitz 1 Concentration Camp Complex. Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the "Angel of Death," worked here. He performed gruesome experiments on children - his speciality was twins. He performed sex change operations, removed internal organs, created Siamese twins by sewing twins together, lobotomies and many other Experiments (all without anesthesia). Other doctors performed cruel experiments on women, such as removal of the uterus and sterilization. The windows were boarded up to keep the "patients" from hearing or seeing prisoners being executed or flogged in the courtyard of death next door. (Notice the firing squad wall and the whipping posts). For more information on Josef Mengele, visit this website: www.mengele.dk/
The next photo was taken of a photograph at the Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau) Concentration Camp complex. This was an illegal photo that was taken by a Polish political prisoner. A few of the Polish political prisoners were part of an underground resistance movement and they had some contact with the outside world. Small cameras were smuggled inside to them and with these cameras, they secretly captured some of these crimes on film. The number of deaths in the gas chambers became so massive that the crematoriums could not keep up with the volume of bodies. To compensate for this, the commandant of Auschwitz approved the burning of bodies in shallow pits to prevent the unwanted accumulation of corpses. Prior to being burned, these bodies were shorn of the hair on their heads and any gold teeth or filings were extracted with pliers. Sometimes, skin with interesting tattoos were removed, treated like leather, and crafted into items such as lampshades.
The next photo is of a wall lined with the mug shots of Jewish male prisoners who died in the gas chamber at the Birkenau (Auschwitz II) Concentration Camp Complex.
The next photo is of a photographic display at the Auschwitz 1 Concentration Camp Complex. These are the mug shots of child prisoners who were initially sent to the Auschwitz complex. Several of them were transferred to other camps where they died, but many of them died at Auschwitz. The SS kept detailed records of many of the prisoners at the Auschwitz complex including mug shots.
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