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New on Yad Vashem Website:
Expanded version of Auschwitz Album

Yad Vashem has published an expanded version of the Auschwitz album, the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, on its web site, www.yadvashem.org, to coincide with the 57th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz (27th January).

The on-line Auschwitz Album displays 58 photographs documenting the day-to-day functioning of Auschwitz-Birkenau, taken in early summer 1944 by SS men, responsible at Auschwitz for the identification and fingerprinting procedure, of the Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia.  Also included in the on-line presentation are testimonies, aerial photos taken of the camp between April – December 1944, and photographs of its construction.

The main deportation of Hungarian Jewry took place in early summer 1944, and for this purpose a special railway line was built which extended from the station outside the camp to a ramp within Auschwitz. It was here, before the selection process took place, that many of the album’s photographs were taken. The photographer followed the new arrivals through the selection process, to their “final destination”, although he did not record acts of violence. Those deemed fit to work were processed for slave labor, and those deemed unfit, to Birkenau (birch valley), the area directly in front of the killing facilities to unwittingly await imminent death. The album’s purpose is unclear, as it was not intended for propaganda. However it is assumed that it was created as a method of reference for a higher authority, in keeping with albums from other concentration camps.

The photographs which make up the Auschwitz Album were discovered by the late Lily Jacob - Zelmanovic Meier, deported from Bilke - a small town in the Carpathian Mountains - in April 1945 on her liberation from Auschwitz by the US army. The album had been given the seemingly innocent title “Resettlement of Hungarian Jews” by the Nazis. Lily kept the photographs in her safekeeping until the 1980’s when Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld convinced her to donate them to Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem restored the album in 1994 in its conservation laboratory, computerized the vital information for its Archives, and matched the aerial photographs taken by the US Army Air Force in 1944 and 1945 with those in the Auschwitz Album.

For further information:
Lisa Davidson-Oren / Foreign Media Liaison, Yad Vashem
Tel: 02/6443410/2

Blick zum Hadasah-Krankenhaus, von Jad vaSchem

haGalil onLine 22-01-2002

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