There were images of living virtual skeletons; of prisoners standing shoulder-to-shoulder in striped uniforms; of people with deformities; of disemboweled victims of purported medical experiments.
And there were tens of thousands of prisoner identification photos: three of each inmate, one taken from the front, one from the side, the third at an angle, usually with a cap on the prisoner’s head.
Many of those photographs were made by a young man named Wilhelm Brasse, who died on Tuesday at 94 in Zywiec, Poland. He took them because, like the more than two million other inmates who died or somehow managed to survive at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War II, he had no choice.
“It was an order, and prisoners didn’t have the right to disagree,” Mr. Brasse recalled. “I couldn’t say, ‘I won’t do that.’ ”
What Mr. Brasse did do was preserve thousands of those pictures, despite an order to destroy them.
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