The Auschwitz Album
8 November 2015 – 28 August 2016
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Jewish Museum in Stockholm is showing an exhibition entitled The Auschwitz Album. The exhibition features photographs portraying the arrival of a trainload of Jews from Hungary in May 1944. These are the only photographs from inside the death camp and are, thus, wholly unique. Documenting the ‘final solution’ was forbidden and why these photographs were taken and were mounted in an album with carefully calligraphed titles we do not know. But we do know that the photographs were taken by two SS men.
The exhibition also tells the story of former prisoner Lilly Jacob; how, quite by accident, she found the album in a drawer after being transferred from Auschwitz to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. The album includes photographs of herself, her entire immediate family, friends and other people who arrived on the same train. She was the only one of her family to survive. Only the photographs in the album remain as a memorial to a whole village.
“What we see in the Auschwitz Album is entirely from the perspective of the perpetrator. This was how the SS chose to portray their victims and the process that the SS was responsible for”, Christina Gamstorp, director of the Jewish Museum in Stockholm, explains. “And so in the exhibition we are also showing material and pictures pertaining to how the people we see in the SS album, chose to be portrayed when they were given a choice. In the photo albums of the victims we see the types of images that we are used to seeing in our own albums; portraits of children, family members and friends.”
The Jewish Museum has also produced educational materials for year 9 and high school for use in connection with the exhibition.