Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

September 20, 2007

Frolicking at Auschwitz

The banality of evil, in photos:

As Ms. Erbelding and other archivists reviewed the album, 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.
Photo after photo shows the Nazis carrying on as if they're on holiday, while thousands of Hungarian Jews were being transported to the camp via Birkenau to be gassed.

What's even more chilling are their smiling faces, not particularly hideous the way evil is supposed to be, except now we know the unspeakable things they have done.

The New York Times has an audio slide show narrated by an archivist of the National Holocaust Museum.

The museum's web site is here.


posted at 2:01 AM by Wonky Muse

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Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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