A while back, I wrote about Faces of Auschwitz: a website dedicated to telling the stories of the prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It’s a passion project I’ve been collaborating on with photo colorist extraordinaire Marina Amaral, the Auschwitz Memorial & Museum and an amazing team of academics, videographers and other specialists.
For the past few months, we’ve been hard at work preparing content for the site while the good people at WordPress built us a fabulous online home. This past week, it all came together. The Faces of Auschwitz website is now live. You can check it out, here.
At a time when the politics of hate have once again found sway on the world stage and concentration camps have sprung into being at an alarming speed, we need to talk about how hate, bigotry and fear of the other can lead to tragedy on an unimaginable scale. It’s my opinion that one of the best ways to do this is to cite examples from the past.
KL Auschwitz did not start as a death camp, though all through its history, people did indeed die there. Located in Nazi-occupied Poland, it was initially used to contain Polish political prisoners, Russian POWs and other groups that the Nazis thought were a risk to their bullshit ideologies that they deserved to head up a new world order based on their racial supremacy. Of course, with Nazis being Nazis, it wasn’t long before other groups soon began to arrive at the camp: the Jews, of course, but also, religious leaders, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, intellectuals, homosexuals, the Roma, and perhaps, worse of all, children. Read the rest
The Auschwitz Memorial Archives preserves 38,916 photos of registered prisoners: 31,969 photos of men & 6,947 photos of women. These photographs were taken from the first quarter of 1941 until spring 1943. In total, 400,000 people were registered as prisoners of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The math on this suggests that we've got photos of less than 10% of the prisoners that were held, murdered, or, if they were very lucky, survived the camp. The lives of each and every one of these individuals deserves to be honored. In collaboration with photo restoration and colorization specialist Marina Amaral and the Auschwitz Memorial Museum, I'm working on a project that aims to do exactly that.
Faces of Auschwitz is a project that will tell the story of each of the 38,916 registered prisoners that we have photos of, based on what records of their lives we have. Each week, we'll talk about the story of another prisoner of Auschwitz. Some will have survived. A few managed to escape. Most of those we profile will have died behind the barbed wire perimeter of the concentration camp. Marina's talents in photo restoration and colorization will breathe new life into the fading pictures of prisoners, bringing their faces into the modern era, while at the same time, ensuring that the colors used in the process are historically accurate.
While the Auschwitz Concentration Camp is infamously known for its role in Nazi Germany's plans to eradicate European Jewry, other groups were also tortured and senselessly murdered inside the camp’s walls as well: members of Poland's leadership, intellectuals, clergy and resistance activists, Sinti & Roma, Soviet POWs, Jehovah witnesses and homosexuals. Read the rest