If you wouldn’t know the wider context of the picture, you would smile at it and think” a lovely picture of young people in the military enjoying themselves”.
And that is exactly what they did , they did enjoy themselves. However this weren’t just some random service men and women. These men and women all had a part to play in the industrial murder of innocent men,women and children, sometimes even newborn babies.
These men and women were all officers and guards of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This photo and others were taken by Karl Hoecker arrived at Auschwitz on May 25, 1944. He was adjutant to Richard Baer, who was a commandant of Auschwitz I concentration camp from May 1944 to December 1944.
Prior to Auschwitz he worked in Majdanek . Majadenke Camp records showed that between May 1943 and May 1944 Höcker had acquired at least 3,610 kilograms of Zyklon B for use in Majdanek from the Hamburg firm of Tesch & Stabenow.
People often ask me what pictures do I find I most disturbing from the Holocaust. It is not the pictures of children, although they churn my stomach every time I see them. Nor is it the pictures of the heaps of bodies piled on top of each other . It is the pictures like the ones from the Höcker album, which show such an apparent parallel universe that existed in Auschwitz and the sheer evil of people enjoying themselves after work , when they would have been responsible or at least witnessed at first hand, the destruction of so many innocent lives, only because of hate fueled by a sick ideology.
Some of these men and women had children themselves, yet they did not hesitate killing children of other parents. As if the lives of Jews and other groups just didn’t matter.
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