Via the Ministry, here’s a chilling look at off-duty SS officers and personnel at Auschwitz.
Killing civilian prisoners in death factories is hard work.
Click for a closer look at the bastards (who are now relaxing in Hell)
Last December, Rebecca Erbelding, a young archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, opened a letter from a former United States Army intelligence officer who said he wanted to donate photographs of Auschwitz he had found more than 60 years ago in Germany.
Ms. Erbelding was intrigued: Although Auschwitz may be the most notorious of the Nazi death camps, there are only a small number of known photos of the place before its liberation in 1945. Some time the next month, the museum received a package containing 16 cardboard pages, with photos pasted on both sides, and their significance quickly became apparent…
Rather than showing the men performing their death camp duties, the photos depicted, among other things, a horde of SS men singing cheerily to the accompaniment of an accordionist, [adjutant to the camp commandant Karl] Höcker lighting the camp’s Christmas tree, a cadre of young SS women frolicking and officers relaxing, some with tunics shed, for a smoking break.
You can view an audio slideshow of some of the photos here.
What makes it so amazing is that we know so many of the individuals’ names. Almost like they’re people or something. We even know the dog’s name, for crying out loud. It’s this sort of faux familiarity that made some sequences in ‘Schindler’s List’ so painful to watch.
Museum curators have avoided describing the album as something like –monsters at play” or –killers at their leisure.” [Museum historian Judith] Cohen said the photos were instructive in that they showed the murderers were, in some sense, people who also behaved as ordinary human beings. –In their self-image, they were good men, good comrades, even civilized,” she said.
Looking at these photos, it’s difficult to tell them apart from actual human beings.
Says Johno at the Ministry:
There’s one woman in the pictures, who appears a few times. She’s clearly a camp administrator of some kind, and she’s young, fresh, and pretty. She’s clearly vivacious and strong-willed; it’s easy to be attracted to this face from more than sixty years ago and imagine a friendship or a friendly beer. And then I realize that behind that smile and those pretty eyes is a mind completely and totally at ease with sorting families into keepers and corpses every single day, and I want to puke myself dry.
I’ve often wondered what the general feeling about the SS personnel who ran the camps compared to actual soldiers in SS combat units is. For all the evilness of the Nazi regime, the German army often displayed true (though misplaced) honor and obviously fought hard and well. How “stained” are SS combat units by the horrible actions of their brethren in the camps?
In the United States, the Nazis have been built up as the most vile and malevolent creatures in all of human history. These photos could be submitted as supporting evidence for that claim.
I hesitate to call these monsters ‘evil.’ It reflects poorly on regular evil people.