This entry in Pen & Sword's Images of War series is a photographic history of the Auschwitz Death Camp, from its origins as a concentration camp, through its expansion into a source of slave labour and a death camp, and on to its liberation by the advancing Russians.
The photographs come from a variety of sources. Two of the most important are an album of pictures taken by SS Obersturmführer Karl Höcker, showing the SS guards of the camp relaxing, and an album found by Lili Jacob, a survivor of the camp, showing the arrival of a trainload of Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz in May 1944. The contrast between these two sets of pictures is particularly chilling, showing the SS at their retreat some way from the camp, and their Hungarian victims being divided into the living and the dead.
While we are familiar with some of the images show here - most notably the crowds of prisoners arriving at the camp, and those from the Russian liberation of the camp, many more are unfamiliar. Amongst them are the pictures showing the SS at play, and the pictures of the construction of the camp and the camp buildings, which give an idea of the massive size of the place.
This is a very valuable piece of work, showing in a way that words alone can not equal, the calculated nature of the evil that took place at Auschwitz.
1 Evolution of Auschwitz
2 Auschwitz-Birkenau: Arrival & Selection
3 The Extermination Centre: Construction of the Crematoria; Extermination
4 The End: SS of Auschwitz; Liberation; Auschwitz-Birkenau today
Author: Ian Baxter
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military