By Alex Ward
These chilling images of a young Jewish girl at Auschwitz are among thousands that have haunted a Nazi photographer all his life.
Wilhelm Brasse was forced to take photographs of frightened children and victims of gruesome medical experiments moments from their death at the extermination camp where some 1.5million people, mostly Jewish died in the Holocaust.
Mr Brasse, who died this week aged 94, has had relive those horrors from inside Auschwitz but is considered a hero after he risked his life to preserve the harrowing photographs, which later helped convict the very Nazi monsters who commissioned the photographs
After the war, Mr Brasse tried to return to photography but it was too traumatic.
He said: ‘When I started taking pictures again, I saw the dead. I would be standing taking a photograph of a young girl for her portrait but behind her I would see them like ghosts standing there.
'I saw all those big eyes, terrified, staring at me. I could not go on.’
He never again picked up a camera. Instead, he set up a business making sausage casings and lived a modestly prosperous life.
Before the war, Mr Brasse trained as a portrait photographer in a studio owned by his aunt in the Polish town of Katowice. He had an eye for the telling image and an ability to put his subjects at ease.
But his peaceful, prosperous existence was shattered with the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939. He was the son of a German father and Polish mother.
Too traumatic: Mr Brasse never picked up a camera again after the war because when he picked up a camera he 'saw the dead'
He said: ‘When the Germans came, they wanted me to join them and say I was loyal to the Reich, but I refused. I felt Polish and I was Polish. It was my mother who instilled this in us.’
Considering the Nazis’ capacity for brutality, it was an extraordinarily brave thing for 22-year-old Mr Brasse to do.
After several Gestapo interrogations he tried to flee to Hungary but was caught at the border. He was imprisoned for four months and then offered another chance to declare his loyalty to Hitler.
He said: ‘They wanted me to join the German army and promised everything would be OK for me if I did.’
But again he refused and on August 31, 1940 he was placed on a train for the newly opened concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In February 1941, he was summoned to the camp commander’s office, the notoriously brutal Rudolf Höss, who would later be hanged for his crimes.
Mr Brasse was certain that this was the end but when he arrived he discovered that the SS was looking for photographers.
There followed what must have been a bizarre and terrifying experience. The assembled men were tested on their photographic skills.
Each must have known failure would mean a return to hard labour and death.
He said: ‘We were five people. They went through everything with us - the laboratory skills and the technical ability with a camera. I had the skills as well as being able to speak German, so I was chosen.’
The Nazis wanted documentation of their prisoners. The Reich was obsessed with bureaucratic records and setup ‘Erkennungsdienst,’ the photographic identification unit.
Based in the camp, it included cameramen, darkroom technicians and designers.
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If obummer and his gang have their way, this is the way most of us will end up. Never surrender your firearms or ammo.
Steven, Mark that in blood of every legal American.. Don' t need history to do a repeat..!!
Thank you for this story.
And these photos are just the clean ones.....
History not only teaches us lessons, but provides us with warnings. The German Jews did not wake up, run, or even recognize the peril they were in, although they received numerous warnings, small things. The Nazis put in small regulations, insidiously, as not to make too much "noise" all at once. We are seeing many regulations, the loss of Rights, everyday. We read about something else everyday, and yet, many are so busy with their program of personal gratification, and their "Busy" lives, their Twitters, I-Pads etc. they don't see the Locomotive coming down the tracks right at them. America, God willing, in this next Election, will turn us around, but how will a new Administration get rid of all those things, they are so numerous. All of this Garbage going on at the UN. The UN should be shut down, it is a Money Pit, for Countries to abuse their Host, and they do not do things that benefit the US, or much else. Out with them to begin with, and they can take all their Rules, and Propaganda with them.
Also our school history books do not tell the young what the real history of the world is.. Only what the left want then to think and none of it is the real truth... Much less how America was born and why...
Maybe so, maybe not on the TEA Party. But. It is the part where all supplies are pooled and "redistributed" fairly. It is the part where slavery is hammered into the students during Black History Month. It is the part where children are explained what and how to have sex. It is the part where gay life styles are condoned. It is the part where abortion is used as consequence of bad timing and paid for by all tax payers, not the participants. It is the part where there are no consequences for actions, no discipline. It is the part where Bibles and morality are taken out of the schools in the name of political correctness...who's political correctness?
What about the some 40-50% of the students that drop out of inner city schools, with no education even in the basics? They vote just like the educated young person, but from a totally different perspective. Guess what that perspective is? Give me, give me, give me. You know how much rent Section 8 people pay for a 1600 sq. ft. 3 br. 2 bath house, with a/c.......$14.00 a month! You know who pays the rest of the $850 a month rent?
YOur right schools dont give out books for the grades anymore,, If they dont take notes they forget what the teacher talked about, I have a 15yr old and she has not had any US history only social studies and that was on Eu area not American.. The only time a child gets a book to take home is if the teacher thinks of the child and they get A`s in all class`s other wise they cant help the kids anymore... But the Unions still get there money no matter what happens to the teacher...
I have seen the majority of those pictures in the quest for information about my relative Wilhelm Auge, prisoner # 38, arrested for being in an opposing political party in 1933. We are so close to that occurring here in the U.S. That is why we have to keep fighting for truth to be exposed about Obama and his lack of citizenship, and his Executive Orders, and the NDAA Law. We need to be courageous and pass as much information on as possible to others, as fast as we can, about the plans of this administration.We need to quit being politically correct in our letters and phone calls to the press, and to our legislators. They must be told that they will face charges of treason if they do not expose the truth about Obama and his plans. They need to be held accountable for withholding the main dangers that are not discussed in their campaigning. It is not the economy or joblessness that is our greatest issue. That is not what will kill us!!! It is the declaration of Marshall Law that will allow Obama to use any Executive Order against anyone he wants to. That is what will destroy America and American's. It is that Obama is worse than Hitler and will do worse to us all if given the chance. Hitler was evil and crazy for power, but he actually wanted Germany to prosper and win. Of course he wanted everyone to obey him, and he wanted only what his idea of perfect Germans were, to live, but Obama wants America as we know it to fall, completely. He wants to give what we have to whomever he chooses. Illegal aliens, himself, the U.N., the Muslim Brotherhood, but one thing is sure, he hates loyal American's, and will begin the roundup and extermination of us as soon as possible. The media and the politicians and the military and the CIA and the FBI all know what the Executive Orders are that Obama plans to use to take total control. They all know he is not a even a U.S. citizen and yet they play the game as if he is. If they do not have a valid reason, such as the loyal U.S. military leaders, telling them to "stand down" till Obama makes his move to declare Marshall Law, so that they can arrest him, then they are all guilty of treason... They are risking our lives, our futures and the future of our children by their silence. They will be responsible for many deaths, not just Obama and his followers. We are not numbers, we are not expendable, we are not percentages of probable casualties, We are "WE the People" and we deserve better than that.
We must never let our youth forget what happened during WWII. If we forget, and if we do not know we are doomed to repeat what happened during WWII.