Photographs

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An SA guard threatens recently arrested political prisoners in the early camp on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin on March 6, 1933, a day after the national elections. (akg-images, courtesy of ullstein bild)

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Among the many improvised camps set up for political opponents in 1933 was this old tugboat on the Ochtum River near Bremen. (Staatsarchiv Bremen)

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A caricature about concentration camps in the German satirical magazine Kladderadatsch from April 30, 1933: left-wingers perform hard labor using symbols of the Communists (hammer and sickle) and of pro-democratic paramilitaries (three arrows), while another prisoner contemplates the Soviet red star. (bpk/Kladderadatsch)

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Photograph from the front page of the Nazi daily Völkischer Beobachter from August 10, 1933, recording the arrival in the Oranienburg camp of prominent political prisoners, including (suited, from left) the Social Democrats Ernst Heilmann and Friedrich Ebert (akg-images)

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Propaganda image of “productive” labor in the Dachau camp, May 1933. The heavy road roller was pulled mainly by Jews and well-known left-wingers. (Bundesarchiv, picture 152-01-24)

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Autopsy photograph from the Munich state prosecutor’s files on the suspicious death of the Jewish prisoner Louis Schloss in Dachau on May 16, 1933, which triggered legal proceedings against the camp’s commandant (Staatsarchiv Munich)

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The overbearing inspector of concentration camps, Theodor Eicke (center, with cigar), during a trip to the Lichtenburg camp in March 1936 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum [USHMM], courtesy of Instytut Pamięci Narodowej)

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Eicke’s more reserved successor, Richard Glücks (center, with briefcase), during a visit to the Gross-Rosen camp in 1941 (USHMM, courtesy of Martin Mansson)

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SS leader Heinrich Himmler confronts a political prisoner in the Dachau workshops during an official inspection of this “model” camp by Nazi grandees on May 8, 1936. (Bundesarchiv, picture 152-11-11/Friedrich Franz Bauer)

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Propaganda photograph of prisoners walking along the main path of the rebuilt and extended Dachau camp, June 28, 1938 (akg-images, courtesy of ullstein bild)

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Hanging from the arms was among the worst of the official SS punishments. This scene in the Dachau baths was drawn by a survivor in 1945. (KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau)

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This photograph, taken outside the walls of the Ravensbrück camp circa 1939–40, comes from an album the guard (center) made for her son. The inscription reads: “Mother with Britta [her guard dog] during training.” (Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück/Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten)

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Commandant Karl Otto Koch with his wife, Ilse, and their children outside his Buchenwald office, December 1940 (Gedenkstätte Buchenwald)

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SS snapshot of Commandant Koch and some of his men at work, towering over a prisoner in Sachsenhausen, 1937 (Archive of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Moscow, with the kind assistance of the Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen)

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Theodor Eicke (center, with cigarillo) presides over an SS comradeship evening in Dachau in 1934. (Hugh Taylor Collection)

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SS men at leisure, at the newly built swimming pool just outside the Esterwegen camp, in 1936 (Archive of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Moscow, with the kind assistance of the Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen)

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Prisoner “workout” in Esterwegen, 1935. The photograph appeared in an SS album presented to Karl Otto Koch and was captioned, tellingly, “At the double, or there’ll be trouble.” (Archive of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, Moscow, with the kind assistance of the Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen)

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Private SS photograph of young Buchenwald sentries showing off their physical prowess and camaraderie, 1940 (Gedenkstätte Buchenwald/personal album of Gerhard Brendle)

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“Political recidivists” featured in a cover story about Dachau in the Nazi weekly Illustrierter Beobachter, December 1936. The prisoner on the right is Karl Kapp, the future camp elder. (KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau)

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Dachau mug shot of the petty criminal Josef Kolacek, one of almost ten thousand “asocial” men rounded up across the Third Reich in June 1938 (International Tracing Service, Bad Arolsen)

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In this staged SS photograph, female camp inmates—small in numbers until the later war years—make straw shoes in Ravensbrück, 1941. (Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück/Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten)

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Roll call in Buchenwald, November 1938, with some of the 26,000 Jewish men forced into concentration camps after the Kristallnacht pogrom (USHMM/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, courtesy of Robert A. Schmuhl)

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Polish prisoners outside a tent of the Buchenwald special camp in autumn 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War; within a few months, most inmates in the camp were dead. (USHMM/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, courtesy of Robert A. Schmuhl)

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Czech prisoners use basic tools to break up the concrete foundations of the failed SS brickworks near Sachsenhausen, 1940. (Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, Mediathek)

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Dachau SS men gather near the body of Abraham Borenstein, one of the Jewish prisoners “shot trying to escape” on the camp’s plantation in May 1941. (Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, Mediathek)

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Slave labor in the SS quarry at Flossenbürg, circa 1942 (Beeldbank WO2—NIOD)

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Heinrich Himmler (second from right in the group of uniformed Nazi dignitaries) in Mauthausen in 1941, passing a prisoner carrying a rock from the quarry (Museu d’Història de Catalunya/Fons Amical de Mauthausen)

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Dachau mug shot of the Austrian Jew Eduard Radinger, who was murdered in 1942 during the “euthanasia” program. On the reverse, one of the doctors responsible, Friedrich Mennecke, recorded the prisoner’s alleged crimes (e.g., “theft”) and misconduct in the camp (e.g., “laziness”). (Staatsarchiv Nuremberg, ND: NO-3060)

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Taking a break from their murderous task: Dr. Mennecke (third from right) and other “euthanasia” physicians unwind at Lake Starnberg on September 3, 1941, upon their return from Dachau. (Bundesarchiv, B 162 picture-00680)

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As epidemics such as typhus spread through the camps, naked prisoners wait in the Mauthausen courtyard during a mass disinfection in June 1941. (BMI/Fotoarchiv der KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen)

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Hans Bonarewitz (on the cart), an alleged “professional criminal” recaptured after an escape, is led to the Mauthausen gallows in a macabre SS spectacle on July 30, 1942. (BMI/Fotoarchiv der KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen)

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Propaganda picture showing Soviet POWs arriving in Sachsenhausen in September 1941. Over the following months, the SS executed some forty thousand “commissars” in the concentration camps. (Národní archiv, Prague)

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Some of the nine thousand Soviet POWs murdered in Sachsenhausen in September and October 1941. The image was smuggled out of the camp by an inmate. (Národní archiv, Prague)

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Rudolf Höss and Auschwitz SS men relax at the Solahütte retreat in the summer of 1944. Front row, from left: adjutant Karl Höcker; crematorium chief Otto Moll (partially obscured); Höss; commandants Richard Baer (partially obscured) and Josef Kramer; camp compound leader Franz Hössler (partially obscured); Dr. Josef Mengele (partially obscured); and two other officers. (USHMM)

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A uniformed SS doctor (center) oversees the selection of 3,500 Jews deported from Subcarpathian Rus to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944. Those selected for immediate extermination (in the background) are led toward the crematorium complex. (USHMM, courtesy of Yad Vashem)

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Following the SS selection on arrival, Jewish women and children stand outside Birkenau crematorium III before they are gassed, May 1944. (USHMM, courtesy of Yad Vashem)

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Male and female prisoners from the privileged Canada Commando sort the belongings of murdered Jews outside the SS warehouses in Birkenau, May 1944. (USHMM, courtesy of Yad Vashem)

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Covert prisoner photograph from inside the Birkenau gas chambers documenting the open-air cremation of murdered Jews, August 1944 (State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim)

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SS photograph of so-called Special Squad prisoners inside Birkenau crematorium II or III in 1943 (State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim)

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On the morning of July 18, 1942, SS leader Heinrich Himmler (front row, left) inspects the IG Farben construction site in Auschwitz-Monowitz, led by the civilian chief engineer, Max Faust (center), and Commandant Rudolf Höss (right). (State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim)

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The head of the SS concentration camp system, Oswald Pohl (center), visits Auschwitz in 1944, accompanied by Commandant Richard Baer. Between them (in the background) is Karl Bischoff, the main SS architect of the crematorium complex. (USHMM)

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Majdanek guards celebrate a birthday in a Lublin dance hall and restaurant in March 1944. (Landesarchiv North Rhine–Westphalia, Rhineland division, RWB 28432/3)

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SS accommodation barracks in Neuengamme during the war: most regular guards lived regimented lives outside the barbed wire. (KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme)

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Slave labor for the war effort: directed by a civilian foreman, prisoners of the Farge satellite camp build a bombproof bunker for submarine production, circa 1944. (Staatsarchiv Bremen, collection Schmidt)

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Armaments Minister Albert Speer (center, right) and the Gauleiter of Upper Austria, August Eigruber (center, left), with prisoners of a satellite camp in Linz, 1944 (bpk/Hanns Hubmann)

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Covert photograph taken by a German civilian from his kitchen window in Cologne in October 1943. The prisoners came from Buchenwald and belonged to an SS Building Brigade clearing bomb damage. (NS-Dokumentationszentrum, Cologne)

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A prisoner from the Dora satellite camp pushes a cart toward the entrance of the deep tunnel system that housed V2 rocket production, summer 1944. (bpk/Hanns Hubmann)

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The dismal “little camp” in Buchenwald, captured in a covert photograph by a French prisoner in June 1944. Inmates slept in tents (center) or windowless stables (left); designed for around fifty horses, the stables held up to two thousand men. (Gedenkstätte Buchenwald)

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Inside a hut at a Kaufering satellite camp (photographed after liberation). The SS crammed prisoners into such vermin-infested huts, which were covered with grass and earth. (U.S. National Archives)

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A 1944 self-portrait of the young German Jew Peter Edel by the Auschwitz gate, illustrating how the camp had changed him. The caption reads “Who is this?” — “You!” — “Me?” — “Yes!” (State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim)

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A 1943 drawing by an unidentified Auschwitz prisoner depicting the powers and privileges of so-called Kapos (State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim)

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This covert photograph by a resident of a village on Lake Starnberg documents prisoners on a death march from Dachau on April 28, 1945. (akg-images/Benno Gantner)

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Prisoners in the Below forest in late April 1945, on a death march from the abandoned Sachsenhausen camp. In the foreground someone carries a Red Cross food parcel. (ICRC, courtesy of Willy Pfister)

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On April 30, 1945, a train with thousands of prisoners from the abandoned Leitmeritz satellite camp makes a stop in a Czech town, where locals defy the SS to distribute food and take pictures. (Museum of Central Bohemia, Roztoky u Prahy)

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Georges Kohn, aged twelve, pictured here during medical experiments in Neuengamme, was hanged on April 20, 1945. He was one of countless victims of last-minute Camp SS murders. (KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme)

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A U.S. soldier outside a train full of dead prisoners, soon after the liberation of Dachau. The prisoners had departed from Buchenwald some three weeks earlier. (USHMM, courtesy of J. Hardman)

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Soviet soldiers survey burned bodies at the Klooga satellite camp in Estonia. On September 19, 1944, shortly before the Red Army arrived, the SS had slaughtered the inmates and torched the camp. (USHMM, courtesy of Esther Ancoli-Barbasch)

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Dachau prisoners welcome U.S. troops on April 29, 1945 (photographed from a watchtower). (USHMM, courtesy of The New York Times)

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The liberation of a Bergen-Belsen death train near Magdeburg, April 13, 1945 (USHMM, courtesy of Dr. Gross)

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Bergen-Belsen on April 18, 1945, three days after the arrival of British forces. Thousands of survivors died here in the following weeks. (Imperial War Museums, London)

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Young survivors cook a meal in the Ebensee satellite camp two days after the May 6, 1945, liberation. (USHMM/U.S. National Archives)

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Survivors of Buchenwald leave the Weimar train station for a children’s home in France, June 1, 1945. One youth writes on the carriage: “Where are our parents? You murderers.” (Gedenkstätte Buchenwald)

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The execution of Rudolf Höss on the grounds of the former Auschwitz main camp on April 16, 1947 (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, Warsaw, GK-14-4-6-11)

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U.S. soldiers confront Weimar civilians with corpses near the Buchenwald crematorium, April 16, 1945—one of many explicit images to appear in the Allied press. (Gedenkstätte Buchenwald)

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Postcard of Dachau as a residential settlement for refugees, circa 1955–60. Next to the main road (bottom, right) are the former prisoner barracks used as apartments. (KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau)

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