Monday, December 10, 2012

A Charge of Forgery Supported by Forgery: The Smearing of a Genuine Auschwitz Photo

Unsurprisingly, the process of industrial-scale genocide perpetrated in the Auschwitz death camp has been documented only by a few photographs taken on the spot. The exceptions include four photographs clandestinely taken by a few members of the Sonderkommando, the prisoners forced to dispose of the huge amount of corpses coming from the gas chambers. The photos were smuggled out of the camp in a tube of toothpaste, along with an accompanying letter. Out of the four photos, the best known is this one, showing the area of an open-air burning pit behind Crematorium V:


The photo shows the members of the Sonderkommando doing their job around the cremation pit. Smoke rises from the pit, and plenty of corpses to be cremated lie all around.