Holocaust Images – Where do Holocaust Photos Come From?
Any brief search on the internet will yield a wealth of documentation about the Holocaust. There are many photos, videos, and other historical documents that have been gathered as proof of what took place during this period in history. There is ample proof of what went on during the Holocaust, but many viewers may wonder just where all these images came from. There are many different sources of Holocaust images, but they fall into a couple main categories. Understanding why the pictures were taken and who was standing there behind the camera may help viewers to better understand what they're seeing.
Most of the Holocaust images that come from within the ghettos or concentration camps were taken by SS members. Nazis documented a great deal of what went on during the Holocaust. Some would take photos of tortures and killings with something near a sense of pride. It's difficult to understand exactly why pictures of this nature were taken, but it's equally baffling to imagine the acts that these individuals performed. Some photos taken in the camps were to be used for Nazi propaganda. In these cases, it's important to realize that some pictures may be staged. Not all Nazi photos offer accurate depictions of what went on during the Holocaust.
A rare Auschwitz album from 1944 and 1945 collected by SS-Obersturmfuhrer Karl Hocker reads like any ordinary home photo album. It shows pictures of SS officers lounging in the sun, participating in a sing-along, and decorating Christmas trees. The levity of the photos is almost inconceivable in light of what was going on at that time inside the concentration camp. Despite the efficient dispatch of thousands of a Jews every day, the SS officers spent much of their time on hunting excursions, at banquets, or lazing in the sun with bowls of blueberries. Though these are far from the graphic images found elsewhere, they're telling just the same.
When the Allies arrived to liberate the concentration camps, they took a great deal of pictures themselves. There are some of the most stunning pictures of the Holocaust because they show with full honesty just what went on in camps like Auschwitz. Emaciated survivors, piles of bodies, and warehouses full of discarded clothing, shorn human hair, and other personal articles are a testament to the true horrors of the Holocaust. Liberation photos like these were taken for the express purposes of showing others what had happened in the Holocaust. Even today, these Holocaust images can still serve their purpose poignantly.