Photos Show Auschwitz, on the Weekend

Album reveals death camp guards relaxing after 'a hard day's work'
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2007 5:30 PM CDT
Photos Show Auschwitz, on the Weekend
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows members of the SS Helferinnen, female auxiliaries, siting on a fence railing in Solahutte, a little known SS resort some 30 km. south of Auschwitz on the Sola River in Poland, as Karl Hoecker passes out bowls of blueberries. The photo...   (Associated Press)

A photo album of co-workers decorating Christmas trees, playing with dogs, eating blueberries—fond memories, but for the swastikas on the merrymakers' uniforms. The US Holocaust Museum has posted online 116 photos showing how Auschwitz guards "unwound after 'a hard day's work,' " archivist Rebecca Erbelding tells the BBC. The album belonged to Karl Hoecker, a ranking official at Auschwitz.

Found by a US intelligence officer in 1946, who held on to it until 2006, the album was Hoecker's personal record, including the only images of infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. SS officers relaxed with blueberries the day 150 Hungarian Jews arrived—after gassing 118. "They were human beings, they weren't red-eyed monsters, and yet could do this to other people," says Erbelding. (Read more Auschwitz stories.)

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