Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An SS Auschwitz Scrapbook Emerges

Nazi officers walk toward the dedication of the new SS hospital in Auschwitz.

From left to right: Richard Baer (Commandant of Auschwitz), Dr. Josef Mengele and Rudolf Hoess (the former Auschwitz Commandant)

From left to right: Josef Kramer, Dr. Josef Mengele (with his arms folded), Richard Baer, Karl Hocker and unidentified.

...they realized they had a scrapbook of sorts of the lives of Auschwitz’s senior SS officers that was maintained by Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the camp commandant. Rather than showing the men performing their death camp duties, the photos depicted, among other things, a horde of SS men singing cheerily to the accompaniment of an accordionist, Höcker lighting the camp’s Christmas tree, a cadre of young SS women frolicking and officers relaxing, some with tunics shed, for a smoking break.

In all there are 116 pictures, beginning with a photo from June 21, 1944, of Höcker and the commandant of the camp, Richard Baer, both in full SS regalia. The album also contains eight photos of Josef Mengele, the camp doctor notorious for participating in the selections of arriving prisoners and bizarre and cruel medical experiments. These are the first authenticated pictures of Mengele at Auschwitz, officials at the Holocaust museum said.
It's perverse, but ultimately unsurprising to see these SS Officers unabashedly joking amidst the atrocities they directed.

No comments: