Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk toward the gas chambers. [Photograph #77303]
192 photos of nameless faces of people just like us.
Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk toward the gas chambers.
The “Auschwitz Album” is an album of photographs documenting the arrival, selection and processing of one or more transports of Jews from Subcarpathian Rus (Carpatho-Ukraine), then part of Hungary, that came to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the latter half of May, 1944. Many of these Jews were deported from Berehovo, where Jews from neighboring towns and villages were gathered at a brick factory. The album, which includes 193 photographs mounted on 56 pages, was taken by SS-Hauptscharführer Bernhardt Walter, head of the Auschwitz photographic laboratory known as the Erkennungsdienst [Identification Service] and his assistant, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Hofmann. The album was produced as a presentation volume for the camp commandant. The photographs were arranged in the album by a prisoner named Myszkowski, who worked in the lab. He also decorated the volume and wrote captions for the pictures. The album was found after the liberation by Lili Jacob (later Zelmanovic, now Meier), herself an Auschwitz survivor who appears in one of the photographs. Lili came from Bilki, a town in Subcarpathian Rus that was annexed by Hungary in March, 1939. In the spring of 1944 her family was relocated to the ghetto in Berehovo. From there they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on a transport that departed on May 24, 1944. Lili, who was eighteen years old when she arrived in the camp, was the only member of her family to survive Auschwitz. At war’s end Lili was sick with typhus in the infirmary of the Nordhausen concentration camp. After the liberation American soldiers moved her to a nearby former SS barrack, where she came across the album of Auschwitz photographs while searching for some clothing. She decided to keep the album and took it with her to Prague, where she lived temporarily after the war. Lili allowed the Prague Jewish community to copy the images and produce a set of glass negatives. A selection of these photographs were subsequently included in The Tragedy of Slovak Jews, published in Bratislava in 1949. In 1955 these negatives were rediscovered in a Prague museum by two Czech researchers who were also Auschwitz survivors. After authenticating these images at the Auschwitz Museum, two sets of prints were made which were deposited at the Auschwitz Museum and at Yad Vashem. At this time the identity of the owner of the original album was unknown. Lili Jacob had in the meantime immigrated to the United States. In 1961 at the time of the Eichmann trial, she gave an interview to Parade magazine in which she described the Auschwitz album she had found. When members of the Auschwitz Museum heard about the interview they contacted her and received the missing information. The negatives found by the Czech researchers were used in the pre-trial investigations for the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials of 1963-1965. When the existence of the original album was make known, Lili was brought to Frankfurt to testify. Among the 22 SS defendants was the head of the photography laboratory, Bernhardt Walter. The Auschwitz album, however, did not receive widespread attention until Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lili to donate it to Yad Vashem in 1980 and, at the same time, undertook to publish the volume. The first edition of The Auschwitz Album, which appeared in August 1980, was produced by the Klarsfeld Foundation. The following year, a version intended for a broader audience was published by Random House. In 1994 the original album underwent restoration at Yad Vashem, and in 1999 it was digitally scanned. Some of the original photographs are missing; it is thought that they may have been given away by Lili to other survivors.
[Sources: http://www.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/album_auschwitz (2000); Swiebocka, Teresa, Auschwitz A History in Photographs. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1993]
Date: May 1944
Locale: Auschwitz, [Upper Silesia] Poland; Birkenau; Auschwitz III; Monowitz; Auschwitz II
Photographer: Bernhardt Walter/Ernst Hofmann
Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem (Public Domain)
Copyright: Public Domain
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DENNIS AND JANE DRAKE PIECHOTA
One of the smuggled tablets that were crushed when the twin towers fell. They have been returned to Iraq
In all the twists and tragedies spanning 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, few would think to look for a happy subplot in the world of archaeology. But consider the travails of 362 tiny clay tablets. Forged in southern Iraq 4,000-odd years ago, then crushed in the collapse of the twin towers, the tablets are now back in Iraq.
Decorated with cuneiform script – the oldest-known form of human writing – the tiny tablets were shipped in early 2001 from Dubai to the Port of Newark in New Jersey by smugglers. There were presumably headed to new hands in return for considerable sums of money. The tablets, each one smaller than a deck of cards, were initially valued at $330,000. In another sense, though, they were priceless, in part because they referenced one of the most powerful officials of the Third Dynasty of Ur, 2000 years before Christ.
Thank goodness for US Customs, who got wind of the delicate merchandise and confiscated it upon landing. But then something less positive happened: they put them in storage at the very bottom of one of the twin towers.
“I was aghast. I was horrified,” James McAndrew, a senior special agent with US Customs, said of the moment that he realised that along with all the human loss at ground zero, the Iraqi tablets were surely gone too. “We had stored the tablets down there, and then when 9/11 happened, the building was destroyed along with everything else,” he told The New York Times, this week, which reported the story of the tablets’ modern odyssey and return to Iraq.
The first miracle occurred when rescue teams finally reached the basement of the “pile” at ground zero and had time to begin retrieving stored items. The boxes of tablets were still there, but there was a problem: they had partly crumbled because of the collapse of the towers but also because they had been soaked with water.
Even as the tablets were formally returned to the Iraqi government at a quiet ceremony in Washington in 2008, the US State Department stepped forward with $100,000 to pay for experts in ancient artefacts in America to reassemble them more or less to the state they were in when they first showed up in Newark. That done, they were packed again and sent on the return leg of a journey that never should have been. On 7 September – almost exactly nine years after 9/11 – the tablets were received home by the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad.
“They’ve certainly been on a crazy journey,” John Russell told the Times. An art history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, who was involved in the restoration of the tablets, Mr Russell added: “Iraq is rising from a period of considerable difficulty, and I think the restoration of these tablets and restoring them to their owners in a stable condition is kind of a nice metaphor for what the Iraqis themselves are doing.
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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A special tribunal in Bangladesh issued arrest warrants against four senior leaders of the country’s largest Islamic party on Monday ahead of a planned trial over alleged crimes against humanity during the nation’s 1971 independence war.
Suspects including Jamaat-e-Islami party chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and his senior party colleagues Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Abdul Quader Mollah and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman were arrested earlier on various charges including attacking police and blaspheming Islam.
Monday’s arrest warrants mean the tribunal is allowing authorities to keep them behind bars for interrogation on specific charges of crimes against humanity.
The party has accused the government of conspiracy and arresting its leaders on politically motivated charges.
The government set up the tribunal in March to prosecute people accused of collaborating with the Pakistani army in killings and other crimes during the 1971 war that culminated in Bangladesh ceding from Pakistan and winning independence.
On Monday, the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Nizamul Huq made the order after the prosecution petitioned it, seeking arrest warrants against them on charges of alleged genocide, murder, rape, torture, looting and arson related to 1971 war. In an amended law, the government recently described these heinous acts as crimes against humanity.
Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu told the court that if the accused were not detained in connection with the charges of committing crimes against humanity, they could be released from custody on bail in other cases and could leave the country or obstruct the investigation.
Later Monday, a magistrate in Dhaka separately allowed detectives to question Nizami and Mujahid for three days.
According to official Bangladesh figures, Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to flee their homes during a bloody nine-month guerrilla war.
Police say most of the suspects are from Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed the battle for independence and sided with Pakistan. India backed those seeking independence.
The tribunal was pledged by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League before it won general elections in 2008.
Jamaat-e-Islami was a major partner of a 2001-2006 coalition government headed by Hasina’s longtime political rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Two of the suspects, Nizami and Mujahid, were senior ministers of that government.
On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh — then called East Pakistan — declared its independence from West Pakistan, following years of perceived political and economic discrimination. Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation on Dec. 16, 1971, with the surrender of the Pakistani army in Dhaka.
After the war, an amnesty was declared by independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — Hasina’s father — for collaborators who were not directly involved in heinous crimes. It did not cover those who had specific charges or evidence of crimes against them. It remains unclear whether the four Islamic party leaders have outstanding criminal cases dating to that time.