Saturday 6 August 2022 01:16 PM Partying at Auschwitz: Photos show Nazis as they relax at death camp where ... trends now

Saturday 6 August 2022 01:16 PM Partying at Auschwitz: Photos show Nazis as they relax at death camp where ... trends now
Saturday 6 August 2022 01:16 PM Partying at Auschwitz: Photos show Nazis as they relax at death camp where ... trends now

Saturday 6 August 2022 01:16 PM Partying at Auschwitz: Photos show Nazis as they relax at death camp where ... trends now

Photos of Nazis taken at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during its most lethal period, June 1944 to January 1945, in which 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered, show them sunbathing, eating blueberries and preparing Christmas trees.

The album was turned over to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in 2007, having been compiled by Obersturmführer Karl Höcker, the military administrative assistant to Richard Baer, the last commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The photos also show other documented SS camp officers including Rudolf Höss, Josef Kramer, Franz Hössler and Dr. Josef Mengele - the photos are the only known images of some of those men. 

Auschwitz-Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II, was the biggest camp, established by the Germans in 1941 in the Polish village of Brzezinka. 

It held over 90,000 prisoners in 1944 and the greater part of the mass extermination chambers were built there, meaning the majority of Jews were murdered there.

A nazi can be seen lighting Yule Trees at the Auschwitz camp in the Christmas period of 1944 while Jews are killed

A nazi can be seen lighting Yule Trees at the Auschwitz camp in the Christmas period of 1944 while Jews are killed

This photo was taken at the SS holiday resort called Solahütte about 30km away from Auschwitz where camp workers could enjoy time off

This photo was taken at the SS holiday resort called Solahütte about 30km away from Auschwitz where camp workers could enjoy time off

The women can be seen eating blueberries alongside a man playing the accordion right next to the Germans's biggest extermination camp

The women can be seen eating blueberries alongside a man playing the accordion right next to the Germans's biggest extermination camp

Karl Höcker, who compiled the album, joined the SS in 1933 and the Nazi party in 1937 and began working at Auschwitz in May 1944 overseeing the murder of 430,000 Hungarian Jews.

The photos he collected show Nazi officers, their families and colleagues all laughing and dining together as well as relaxing in the sun and playing a concertina at the killing centre.

The images of the lighting of the Yule tree and the hunting trip were taken in January, only two weeks before the SS began evacuating the camp, with Soviet soldiers liberating the remaining prisoners on January 27, 1945.

Nazis can be seen laughing and enjoying the music played on a concertina at the Solahütte resort next to the camp

Nazis can be seen laughing and enjoying the music played on a concertina at the Solahütte resort next to the camp

A Nazi stood smiling with his dog, likely to patrol the isolated camps that were surrounded by barbed wire fencing - the writing in the album loosely translates to 'my favourite dog'

A Nazi stood smiling with his dog, likely to patrol the isolated camps that were surrounded by barbed wire fencing - the writing in the album loosely translates to 'my favourite dog'

Nazis can be seen sunbathing with their families while taking a rest from working at the extermination camp which held 90,000 prisoners at a time

Nazis can be seen sunbathing with their families while taking a rest from working at the extermination camp which held 90,000 prisoners at a time

A Nazi can be seen smiling while eating at a dinner party and drinking wine at the Auschwitz camp built in 1941

A Nazi can be seen smiling while eating at a dinner party and drinking wine at the Auschwitz camp built in 1941

The guards at the extermination camp can be seen enjoying a break with food and wine as they gather around the table in 1944

The guards at the extermination camp can be seen enjoying a break with food and wine as they gather around the table in 1944

Many of the photos are taken at an SS holiday resort called Solahütte about 30km away from Auschwitz, built for Nazi officers, guards and and administrative assistants on their days off from the killing camp.

Rebecca Erbelding the museum archivist who recognised the significance of the photos told the Washington Post: 'They do not look evil (the Nazis); they’re smiling. They’re playing with their dogs. They look like they might resemble a neighbour that you have. And, yes, that is correct, that humans have this capacity.' 

Höcker was captured by British troops after another camps surrender, Dora-Mittelbau, in April 1945, but was released in 1946 because it was not known he was an SS officer.

He was eventually sentenced to seven years in prison for aiding and abetting the murders of at

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