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Brooke Whitaker
Brooke Whitaker • 1 year ago

A rather innocuous picture of Dutch Jews arriving at Theresienstadt. Though technically a Concentration and Transport Camp, tens of thousands of people died at Theresienstadt of disease, starvation, and brutality. Unlike other camps, Theresienstadt held mostly political prisoners of Dutch, Polish, Russian, Czech, and other nationalities. Most Jews were at Theresienstadt for only a short time before being transported to an Extermination Camp.

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Jews board a train in Siedlce that will take them to Treblinka. Not a Konzentrationslager or Concentration Camp, Treblinka was a Vernichtungslager, or Extermination Camp. The sole purpose of the camp was the destruction of human life.

An emaciated Jew from the Lodz ghetto awaits deportation to the Chelmno death camp.

This mass grave of murdered Jews was the handiwork of an Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei, a group of SS whose sole purpose was the extermination of Jews and other "undesirables". Overseen by Reinhardt Heydrich, the four Einsatzgruppen were comprised of units of Einsatzkommandos which traveled with the Wermacht in order to "purify" newly conquered territories. Each group contained 500 to 800 men. It is estimated that they were responsible for over one million deaths.

A young German soldier tries to humiliate an elderly Polish Jew by cutting his beard. Beard-cutting was a method of humiliation favored by many Germans. As it is with all bullies and their victims, the strong bear the real shame for preying on the weak. The Jews of Europe bore such petty torments with exceptional dignity and fortitude. If this soldier were still alive to look back at this picture, would he feel ashamed? If he retained any humanity, he would.

  • Erin Bourassa

    This makes me so so so sad! My heart aches for this old man!

  • Mercury Marten

    I know how you feel. It makes me sad, too. It also makes me burn with rage that a pious, inoffensive man had lived a long, long life only to have it ended in debasement and horror by cruel young monsters like this soldier.

  • Jane Doe

    I hope that soldier carries that guilt and shame to his grave. He will answer to a higher power. Dear Sir.. may you rest in peace with dignity and all the beauty and love that you more than deserve!

  • mark Kut

    Cruel nazis

  • Erin Bourassa

    Revisiting this photo a year later still evokes the same physical reaction in me now as it did then; a deep, guttural sadness. This photo says nothing, yet it says everything! to.the.core. I agree with you Mercury, just as you said. " A pious, inoffensive man had lived a long, long life only to have it ended in debasement and horror by cruel young monsters like this soldier." Utterly devastating and tragic.

An Allied soldier mourns beside the corpse of a young Jew in the Thekla camp near Leipzig. Here too, the Germans locked the camp population in a building and set fire to it. Those who escaped the fire were shot or electrocuted and charred by the charge in the barbed wire. In many camps, suicide was easily achieved by running into the electrified fence. Elie Wiesel considered it many times, but chose against it. Many, many others chose to die at their own hour, by their own decision.

German concentration camp chart of prisoner markings

Affidavit signed by Rudolf Hoess, former commandant of Auschwitz, attesting to the gassing of Jews at the killing center during his tenure. The text reads: "I declare herewith under oath that in the years 1941 to 1943 during my tenure in office as commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp 2 million Jews were put to death by gassing and a 1/2 million by other means. Rudolf Hoess. May 14, 1946."

Inmates of the Death camp at Flossenburg after being liberated by the 97th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in May 1945. The emaciated prisoner in the center is a 23 year-old Czech ill with dysentery.

Prisoners carry large stones up the "stairs of death" (Todesstiege) from the Wiener Graben quarry at the Mauthausen concentration camp.