Just ‘regular’ guys-The faces of evil.

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Recently a list was released with the names of nearly 10,000 SS guards who worked in Auschwitz.Many of the men who appear in the list of 9,686 names worked as farmers, teachers and decorators before the war.

Benjamin Wengel. DOB: 14/09/1905. Place of Birth: Lydowen. Nationality: Lithuanian. Occupation: Barrel maker

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Franz Wunsch. DOB: 21/03/1922. Place of Birth: Drasenhofen. Occupation: Student

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Heinz Wimmer. DOB: 03/05/1905. Place of Birth: Aachen. Nationality: German. Occupation: Painter

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Johann Weishaupel. DOB: 05/03/1907. Place of Birth: Konigliche Weinberge. Nationality: Austrian. Occupation: Shoemaker

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Robert Wagner. DOB: 05/06/1908. Place of Birth: Kimpolung. Nationality: Romanian. Occupation: Butcher

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Waldemar Alszewski. DOB: 09/09/1905. Place of Birth: Kibarten. Nationality: Lithuanian. Occupation: Butcher

6

Walter Weber. DOB: 11/10/1906. Place of Birth: Hagen. Nationality: German. Occupation. Machinist

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Kanada a little bit of ‘heaven’ in Hell

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The possessions and precious belongings of the Jews transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau were left in the train carriages and on the ramp as their owners were quickly put through the selection process.

When the selection process was complete, a work group of prisoners called the ‘Kanada Kommando’ collected the belongings of victims and took them to the ‘Kanada’ warehouse facility for sorting and transporting back to Germany.

To prisoners Canada was a country that symbolised wealth. They, therefore, gave the ironic name Kanada (the German spelling of Canada) to the warehouse area as it was full of possessions, clothing and jewellery.

The prisoners working in the Kanada Kommando lived in barracks. The barracks were inside the warehouse, away from the rest of the prisoners in the camp. They were in a better position than the other inmates.

They could take extra food on which to survive, a pair of shoes or extra clothing to protect themselves from the severe winter weather. Some smuggled valuables to bribe the kapos or guards. If they were caught, they were killed.

Even with the dangers it must have felt as a little bit of ‘heaven’ to have a bit of reprieve of the horrors they witnessed on a daily basis in the main camps.

But of course that bit of heaven really was a slightly better version of hell.

Women prisoners of Kanadakommando sorting through the belongings confiscated from Jewish victims at Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Male and female prisoners in the “Kanada” section, the arrival of the trucks

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Jewish property that has been left on the platform, to be taken by trucks to the “Kanada” section.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

$2.00

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

€2,00

A threat to the nation

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I can nearly understand why adult civilians could be perceived as a threat to the nations.Although I know the reasons why I still don’t comprehend them.

But children, why? Of course this is the way the Nazi’s wanted to ensure that the ‘undesirables’ would have no future. I have done blogs on the young victims of the Holocaust before and this is another one,because there are still too many who do not realize the implications of the Holocaust. This could happen again and to an extend it is already happening in some parts of the world.

The next time it could be you and your children.

These are pictures of young children who were murdered in Auschwitz.It is not easy to look at these children but we can not afford for these children to be forgotten.

Portrait of Istvan Reiner, taken shortly before he was killed in Auschwitz, 1943-44

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Annie Dirnfeld age 2 was deported to Auschwitz then murdered on July 5, 1944.

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Naomi Posinova, born in Prague, murdered in Auschwitz.

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Jeanette Groenteman murdered in Auschwitz on Sept. 28, 1942

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3 year old Arlette Skalka was arrested during the vel d’hiv roundup and murdered in Auschwitz on August 23, 1942.
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Lazare Amar age 10 from Paris, France was sadly murdered in Auschwitz on October 28, 1943.
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Hartog Kroonenberg murdered in Auschwitz on Oct. 8, 1942
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These beautiful faces should be a stark reminder on how cruel men can be.

The letter of Horror.

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This blog is not meant to judge, it is however meant for one thing.

Just one question “What would you do?”

It is a question of dying or living. The primal human instinct’Survival’

And there is no need to reply to this blog, just reply in your own mind with your own conscience.

A buried letter written by Greek Jew Marcel Nadjari while he was at the Auschwitz concentration camp has recently been made legible thanks to the efforts of Russian historian Pavel Polian who spent years reconstructing the document.

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Marcel Nadjari, a Jewish merchant from Greece deported by the Nazis to the death camp in Poland, buried his account in a thermos, hoping that one day it might tell his family and the world about the brutality there.

He explains how he would shepherd soon-to-be-killed Jews to the gas chambers, where Nazis would use whips to force in as many as could fit, before hermetically sealing the doors and killing all inside.

Below are some translated excerpts of that letter.

“If you read about the things we did, you’ll say, how could anyone do that, burn their fellow Jews?,That’s what I said at first, too, and thought many times.”

“After half an hour, we opened the doors of the gas chamber, and our work began. We carried the corpses of these innocent women and children to the elevator, which brought them into the room with the ovens, and they put them in there the furnaces, where they were burnt without the use of fuel, because of the fat they have.”

He described how in the crematoriums, “a human being ends up as about 640 grams of ashes.”

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“We all suffer things here that the human mind can not imagine,”

“Underneath a garden, there are two endless basement rooms: one is meant for undressing, the other is a death chamber.People enter naked and when it is filled with about 3,000 people, it is closed and they are gassed.”

“Many times I thought of coming in with them to the gas chambers,”

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“I wanted to live to avenge the death of Papa and Mama, and that of my beloved little sister, Nelli.”

It’s the beauty that killed the beast:The bravery of Franceska Mann.

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Franceska Mann   (February 4, 1917 – October 23, 1943)

Franciszka Mann was a young dancer residing in Warsaw before the Second World War. She studied dance in the dance school of Irena Prusicka. Her friends at that time included Wiera Gran and Stefania Grodzieńska. In 1939 she placed 4th during the international dance competition in Brussels among 125 other young ballet dancers.She was considered one of the most beautiful and promising dancers of her generation in Poland both in classical and modern repertoire.

 

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At the beginning of the Second World War she was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She was a prisoner of Warsaw Ghetto.

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After  Nazi Germany had invaded and occupied Poland she escaped the ghetto and went into hiding on the “Aryan” site of Warsaw.
In spring 1943 the Germans declaired that all Polish Jews, who possessed visas of the neutral South American counties would be sent there.
Ms. Mann obtained (or forged) one of those visas and then sought refuge in “Hotel Polski”, transformed by the Nazis into the transit camp.

However, the allegedly neutral South American states that admitted numerous Nazi War criminals after 1945 did not lift a finger to rescue their victims, who were deported from “Hotel Polski” first to Bergen-Belsen and then (on October 23, 1943) to Auschwitz.
After the train arrived at the death camp the Jews were told that they were to be “disinfected” before crossing the Swiss border. While some began to comply with the SS orders to undress and enter the gas chamber, others hesitated, unwilling to take off clothes which contained their precious travel documents. As they delayed, the SS assumed more menacing stances, threatening the Jews with guns and finally beating them mercilessly with sticks.
Franceska Mann was a girl of striking beauty and had not lost it completely despite all suffering.

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Thus she attracted the attention of the SS man Schillinger, who ogled her as she undressed.
Suddenly she threw an article of clothing at Schillinger, hitting him in the head. As he opened his holster, Franceska Mann grabbed his pistol and shot twice mortally wounding him; the third shot wounded a second SS man, Emmerich, who later recovered, but was disabled.
Inspired by her courage the fellow prisoners attacked the SS guards and severely injured two of them, but could not do anything against the machine guns and were within minutes shot or driven into the gas chamber.

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Personal belongings- The silent but powerful story of Auschwitz.

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Thousands of personal items snatched from those murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz have at last been returned to the memorial after an exhaustive search.

Items including thermometers, empty bottles of medicines, jewellery, cutlery, watches, brushes, tobacco pipes, lighters and keys are among a huge number of items finally tracked down by researchers from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

 

In most cases, they were the last belongings of Jewish people taken from them before they were lead to their deaths in the gas chambers at the death camp in German-occupied Poland

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When the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, in January of 1945, they found evidence of atrocities which survived the Nazis’ efforts to demolish the camp.

Among other things, baled (and unbaled) human hair—cut from the heads of murdered females—was found in an Auschwitz warehouse.

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When religious Jews arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, their prayer shawls (referred to as tallesim, tallitot) were confiscated.

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After killing people in the gas chamber, and burning their bodies in one of five crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazis (or their Sonderkommando helpers) tossed no-longer-needed clothing into heaps at the death camp.

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After people arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, some were selected for death in the gas chamber.  Those individuals were brought to showers which had numbered hooks for clothes.

People about to shower, after a long journey in a crowded cattle car, were told to remember their clothes-hook number … so they could retrieve their personal items after the shower.

Instead, their personal items were rounded up, after what really happened in the Auschwitz showers, and discarded … just like these heaps of shoes.

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Prisoners of Kanadakommando sorting through the belongings confiscated from Jewish victims at Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Eyeglasses taken from the Auschwitz prisoners before they were taken to the gas chamber. Found after the liberation.

GLASSES

Karl Bischoff-Architect of Death

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In October 1941 Auschwitz construction chief Karl Bischoff and SS architect Fritz Ertl
were developing plans for a camp to be built about a mile and a half away from Auschwitz, on a site the Germans called Birkenau.

The original occupancy figure of 550 was crossed out and replaced with 744.

The new camp was to hold 100,000 prisoners. The architects built suffering into the plans. Birkenau had no provision for adequate water or waste disposal, and putting so many people together meant that the barracks were breeding grounds for disease. Newly available documents reveal that at the last minute, Bischoff decided to force even more prisoners into each barrack. A handwritten change on the plans shows the occupancy figure of 550 crossed out and replaced with 744.

Surprisingly, the Birkenau camp wasn’t initially designed to take Jews, but Russian prisoners of war.

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in October 1941 Bischoff arrived in Auschwitz, where he became chief of the Central Construction Office of the Waffen-SS and the Police Auschwitz in Upper Silesia (for i. Zentralbauleitung der Waffen SS und Polizei, Auschwitz O/S) that had to implement the planned enlargement of the concentration camp by the creation of a POW camp, which itself later became part of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.

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He showed his ambition shortly after his arrival by claiming the enormous budget of 20 million Reichsmarks. Unlike his predecessor, Bischoff was an extremely competent and dynamic bureaucrat. Despite all of the difficulties caused by the war, the building activities deemed necessary during the next years were all carried out by Bischoff and his staff. The giant Birkenau camp, the four big crematoria, the technically complicated central sauna, the new reception building in the Stammlager and hundreds of other buildings, were planned and realized.

 

 

For instance, Bischoff laid out the construction plans for the building of Auschwitz II-Birkenau with an original tally of 550 prisoners in each barrack (this meant that each prisoner had one-third the amount of space that he or she was allotted in other Nazi German concentration camps). He changed this tally to 744 prisoners per barrack. The SS designed the barracks not so much to house people as to destroy them.

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In 1943 the chief builder of the crematoria was able to inform his superiors in Berlin about the success of the operation: when the old crematorium in the Stammlagerwas included, 4,756 persons could be burned within 24 hours in five crematoria.

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In 1944, Bischoff was awarded the War Merit Cross, 1st class, but shortly afterward he was informed that further plans for Auschwitz had to be reduced to those facilities considered absolutely necessary. The faltering German position at the eastern front did not favour further development in the area.

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In April 1944 he left Auschwitz and became chief of the building bureau of the Waffen-SS in Silesia and Bohemia at Katowice. He remained there until the end of the war. Although almost all of the archives of the Auschwitz building office fell into the hands of the Soviets after the camp was liberated by the Red Army in January 1945, Bischoff remained in the shadows after the war ended. His involvement at Auschwitz went unrecognized until his death in Bremen in 1950.

 

Nazi camp administration-Documenting the Holocaust.

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The one thing that always puzzled me is why did the Nazi’s insist in having such a thorough administration?

If you are planning to eradicate millions, why document it? I just don’t understand the psyche of it. Of course the Nazi’s didn’t see “the final solution” as a crime but only a method of getting rid of “undesirables” in their society.

Traditionally Germans are known to do everything right and proper,it is still one of their characteristics nowadays. However unfortunately this attitude,(regardless how honourable it is), combined with the ideology of a leader with a warped mind it will result in pure devastation.

This “efficiency” ultimately became valuable evidence.

Below are some of the examples of the admin in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Courtesy of http://www.auschwitz.org

 

Personal prisoner cards

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Report on removal of gold teeth
The reports contain: date, prisoner’s camp number, sometimes the name, number of removed teeth divided to made of gold and other precious metals and a total number of removed teeth. Some reports had two copies.

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Telegram considering transit of Slovak Jews

A telegraom from Slovak railways from October 19, 1942 considering transit of Jews deported to KL Auschwitz through the border station in Zwardoń.

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First page of the camp commandant order from October 4, 1944, enlisting names of Auschwitz SS officers awarded for good service

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Below is the death certificate issued by the Politische Abteilung (camp Gestapo) for Auschwitz Concentration Camp prisoner Janusz Pogonowski. Prisoner no. 253, Pogonowski (who went by the name “Skrzetuski” in the camp) arrived on the first transport of political prisoners from the prison in Tarnów on June 14, 1940.

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He was an active member of the underground camp resistance. He was hanged during a public execution, along with eleven other prisoners from the surveyors labor detail, on July 19, 1943. This was a reprisal for the escape of four prisoners from this labor detail and for contacts with civilians outside the camp.

His heroic behavior at the time of his execution remained etched in the memory of the prisoners. Without waiting for camp commandant Rudolf Höss to finish reading out the sentence, Janusz Pogonowski kicked the stool out from under his feet and hanged himself. He was 21. The certificate “reason of death-sudden heart attack”

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Lists of numbers of prisoners who died in KL Auschwitz. gathered in 4 books. The lists contain: date, serial number, prisoner’s camp number, number of block from where the body was brought and a signature of the prisoner recording the data.

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Auschwitz Death Notice

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Auschwitz II-Birkenau – original blueprints of gas chamber & crematorium II

Bluprints crem2

 

The Auschwitz Numbers

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During the Holocaust, concentration camp prisoners received tattoos only at one location, the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. The Auschwitz camp complex consisted of Auschwitz I (Main Camp), Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau), and Auschwitz III (Monowitz and the subcamps).

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Incoming prisoners were assigned a camp serial number which was sewn to their prison uniforms. Only those prisoners selected for work were issued serial numbers; those prisoners sent directly to the gas chambers were not registered and received no tattoos.

Numbers ascribed by camp authorities to those deported to KL Auschwitz became their second name during their incarceration. Being awaken in the middle of the night, they needed to be able to provide their number in German. Those who survived were unable to forget them.

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The prisoner numbers were issued chronologically to the newly arrived in KL Auschwitz, similarly as in the majority of German Nazi concentration camps. Therefore, the prisoner number allows us to determine a specific date of deportation. However, when the camp functioned, there were several number series applied – separate for women and for men, and also for various prison categories-groups. These series were prepared by camp administration, regarding the needs, as new transports continued to arrive. Jointly, about 400 000 of prisoner numbers were issued in all series.

Originally, a special metal stamp, holding interchangeable numbers made up of needles approximately one centimeter long was used. This allowed the whole serial number to be punched at one blow onto the prisoner’s left upper chest. Ink was then rubbed into the bleeding wound.

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When the metal stamp method proved impractical, a single-needle device was introduced, which pierced the outlines of the serial-number digits onto the skin. The site of the tattoo was changed to the outer side of the left forearm. However, prisoners from several transports in 1943 had their numbers tattooed on the inner side of their left upper forearms. Tattooing was generally performed during registration when each prisoner was assigned a camp serial number. Since prisoners sent directly to the gas chambers were never issued numbers, they were never tattooed.

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Tattooing was introduced at Auschwitz in the autumn of 1941. As thousands of Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) arrived at the camp, and thousands rapidly died there, the SS authorities began to tattoo the prisoners for identification purposes. At Auschwitz II (Birkenau), the SS staff introduced the practice of tattooing in March 1942 to keep up with the identification of large numbers of prisoners who arrived, sickened, and died quickly. By this time, the majority of registered prisoners in the Auschwitz complex were Jews.

In the spring of 1943, the SS authorities throughout the entire Auschwitz complex adopted the practice of tattooing almost all previously registered and newly arrived prisoners, including female prisoners. Exceptions to this practice were prisoners of German nationality and “reeducation prisoners,” who were held in a separate compound. “Reeducation prisoners,” or “labor-education prisoners,” were non-Jewish persons of virtually all European nationalities (but at Auschwitz primarily Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Soviet civilians) who had run afoul of the harsh labor discipline imposed on civilian laborers in areas under German control.

 

The first series of prisoner numbers was introduced in May 1940, well before the practice of tattooing began. This first series was given to male prisoners and remained in use until January 1945, ending with the number 202,499. Until mid-May 1944, male Jewish prisoners were given numbers from this series.

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A new series of registration numbers was introduced in October 1941 and remained in use until 1944. Approximately 12,000 Soviet POWs were given numbers from this series (some of the POWs murdered at Auschwitz were never registered and did not receive numbers).

A third series of numbers was introduced in March 1942 with the arrival of the first female prisoners. Approximately 90,000 female prisoners were identified with a series of numbers created for female prisoners in March 1942 until May 1944.

Each new series of numbers introduced at Auschwitz began with “1.” Some Jewish prisoners (but not all) had a triangle tattooed beneath their serial number.

In order to avoid the assignment of excessively high numbers from the general series to the large number of Hungarian Jews arriving in 1944, the SS authorities introduced new sequences of numbers in mid-May 1944. This series, prefaced by the letter A, began with “1” and ended at “20,000.” Once the number 20,000 was reached, a new series beginning with “B” series was introduced. Some 15,000 men received “B” series tattoos. For an unknown reason, the “A” series for women did not stop at 20,000 and continued to 30,000.

A separate series of numbers was introduced in January 1942 for “reeducation” prisoners who had not received numbers from the general series. Numbers from this new series were assigned retroactively to “reeducation” prisoners who had died or been released, while their superseded general-series serial numbers were reassigned to new “general” arrivals. This was the only instance in the history of Auschwitz of numbers being “recycled.” Approximately 9,000 prisoners were registered in the “reeducation” series. Beginning in 1943, female “reeducation” prisoners were given serial numbers from their own new series, which also began with “1.” There were approximately 2,000 serial numbers in this series.

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Beginning in February 1943, SS authorities issued two separate series’ of number to Roma (Gypsy) prisoners registered at Auschwitz: one for the men and one for the women. Through August 1944, 10,094 numbers were assigned from the former series and 10,888 from the latter. Gypsy prisoners were given the letter Z (“Zigeuner” is German for Gypsy) in addition to the serial number.

The camp authorities assigned more than 400,000 prisoner serial numbers (not counting approximately 3,000 numbers given to police prisoners interned at Auschwitz due to overcrowding in jails who were not included in the daily count of prisoners

Czeslawa Kwoka, the 14-year-old”political” prisoner of Auschwitz

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Czesława Kwoka (15 August 1928 Wólka Złojecka – 12 March 1943 Auschwitz) was a Polish Catholic child who died in the Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 14. She was one of the thousands of child victims of German World War II crimes against Poles. She died at Auschwitz-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, and is among those memorialized in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum indoor exhibit called ‘Block no. 6: Exhibition: The Life of the Prisoners”

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Czeslawa was a Polish Catholic girl, from Wolka Zlojecka, Poland, who was sent to Auschwitz with her mother in December of 1942. She was deemed a political prisoner for living in Zamosc, the location of a future German colony. The cut on her lip in picture two came from being struck by a female Kapo for not speaking German which she did not know. (Speaking Polish was outlawed in 1939.)

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Czesɫawa, was only in camp three months before she perished, less than one month after her mother, Katarzyna Kwoka (prisoner number 26946) did, due to unknown circumstances (there is speculation that lethal injection was used). Both of their names can be found on a list of deceased female prisoners who were thought to be associated with the camp resistance.

The rod in the first picture was used to keep the subject still and at right distance from the camera. Those kind of devices were widely used in early days of photography when the photographic plates weren’t so sensitive and long exposures had to be used.

The pictures were taken by Wilhelm Brasse while, a Polish professional photographer and a prisoner in Auschwitz, working in the photography department at the death camp.

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