These Photos of Auschwitz-Birkenau Will Chill You To The Core
It's been over seventy years since World War II ended, but the realities realities of war and the holocaust are still horrifying but important to look at. Military historian, Ian Baxter, has uncovered rare archive images of the inside of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
It's grim to contemplate.
Auschwitz was the Nazi's biggest and most lethal concentration and extermination camp.
The series of black and white images show Jewish women and children walking towards gas chambers and their deaths, men selected to carry out forced labour at another area of the camp and men building Birkenau's brick entrance.
Other images show the house of lieutenant colonel Rudolph Hoss' overlooking the SS sick bay with trees planted in front to hide the house from the rest of the camp.
One photo even shows a Sunday concert conducted by Franciszek Nierychlo and attended by prisoners and SS men together.
The pictures have been revealed in the book, Images of War: Auschwitz and Birkenau, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives by military historian Ian Baxter.
"The book shows in great detail the sheer size and scope of Auschwitz and the nearby Birkenau complex," writes Ian.
"It reveals how the buildings were constructed and then tells of the private firms that were employed by the SS to build them.
"The book shows the step-by-step transformation of the buildings including the crematoria and how these buildings aided the largest killing factory of all time.
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Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp and opened in 1940 as a detention centre for political prisoners and evolved into a death camp for Jewish people.
Almost two million people died in Auschwitz - over a millions Jews, 140,000 Polish political prisoners, and 20,000 Roma - among others. Ninety per cent of the people who died there were Jews and almost a million of the Jews were women and children. Only the Jews and the Roma people were gassed.
More people died in Auschwitz than British and American losses of World War Two combined.
The slave labour at Auschwitz generated around £125 million for the Nazi state.
Some Jewish prisoners secretly wrote eye-witness accounts of the atrocities of the gas chambers and hid them in bottles or metal containers buried in the ground. A number of these accounts were discovered after the war.
A Star of David was placed above the entrance to the gas chamber and a sign was painted in Hebrew on a purple curtain covering the entrance to the gas chamber that said "This is the Gateway to God. Righteous men will pass through".
"Many of these buildings are still standing today," said Ian.
"It shows just how many civilian companies were involved professionally cooperation in genocide, and reveals just how eager they were to produce the goods for the SS for financial reward.
"The reader will quickly learn how pivotal the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was, and how it became the Nazi centrepiece for forced labour and genocide."
Words: Laura Hamilton
Featured Image Credit: Ian Baxter/Media Drum World