Their faces etched with fear, Jewish children and mothers carrying toddlers walk unknowingly to their horrendous fate.
These innocent victims were among around 1.1million people murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz-Birkenau, near the town of Oswiecim, in what was then occupied Poland.
The victims at Auschwitz were among 6million Jews who were murdered by Adolf Hitler’s forces between 1941 and 1945. Their lives are commemorated today on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The rare photos taken at Auschwitz by Hitler’s SS guards show not only the arrival of Hungarian Jews at the camp – on rail tracks built specifically in 1944 for the extermination operation – but the long queues as they waited to walk to gas chambers.
In less than three months in the summer of 1944, nearly 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered in a ruthless production line system of horror.
The images of are revealed in upcoming book Hitler’s Death Camps in Occupied Poland – Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives, written by military historian Ian Baxter and
Speaking to MailOnline on what is also the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Soviet forces in 1945, Mr Baxter branded Auschwitz a ‘factory of death’ and said the camp is a ‘monument and a testimony to the tragedy of what happened.’
‘It is a foundation to the future to warn others of what can happen,’ he added.
Their faces etched with fear, Jewish children and mothers from carrying toddlers walk unknowingly to their horrendous fate. The above victims, from Hungary, were among 1.1million people murdered by the Nazis at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp between 1942 and late 1944. Of those, 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered in the space of less than three months in the summer of 1944, the above women and children among them. They are pictured walking to the gas chambers
The rare photos taken at Auschwitz by Hitler’s SS guards show not only the arrival of Hungarian Jews at the camp – on rail tracks built specifically in 1944 for the extermination operation – but the long queues as they waited to walk to gas chambers. The above photo shows SS guards standing in front of a long queue of people who had been selected for death, rather than work.
In less than three months in the summer of 1944, nearly 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered in a ruthless production line system of horror. The above photo shows stationary trains which transported the Jews to the camp. In the foreground are SS guards. Behind them are piles of belongings. In the distance – to the left and right of the two trains – are the chimneys of the crematoria where the bodies of murdered victims were incinerated
Jewish women and children who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau stare at the camera as they walk towards the gas chambers in 1944. The building behind them is one of the crematoriums at the camp. The building in the background is Crematorium III. In May of that year, an average of 3,300 Hungarian Jews arrived each day
Babo Batren, an elderly Jewish woman from Tecso labour camp, leans against the train which brought her to Auschwitz. She is waiting to be taken to the gas chambers
On arrival in the camp, prisoners who were not immediately selected for death were taken to be processed. This involved having their heads shaved, being disinfected and showered and having to wear striped uniforms. The above photo shows female prisoners after leaving the camp sauna
After their showers, the prisoners were taken to their designated barracks with a blanket for their bunk. The women had lost the last symbols of their individuality. They now all looked alike
A group of Orthodox Jewish men – one of whom is wearing the makeshift star of David which Jews were forced to wear to distinguish them from other citizens – after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Soon after this picture was taken, the men would have been forced to give up their clothes, beards and hats
A Jewish woman wearing a long coat looks over her shoulder as Jewish men await selection after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. One man is seen standing as an SS guard holds the lapel of his coat. Behind him, four other men wait to be inspected by the guard
The images of are revealed in upcoming book Hitler’s Death Camps in Occupied Poland – Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives, written by military historian Ian Baxter and published by Pen & Sword. Pictured: Four Jewish men stand side by side shortly after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau
These Hungarian Jewish women and children are seen looking at the camera as their picture is taken. To the right, a mother can be seen smiling down at her children. In the centre of the image, a mother clutches her child’s hand. These people had been selected for death, rather than work, after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Jewish men from Hungary await selection on the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau shortly after arriving in 1944. Those who were too old or too ill to work would have been directed towards the gas chambers. Auschwitz-Birkenau was originally used to house political prisoners but was later handed over to the infamous SS
Jewish women and children from Hungary await selection after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau on freight trains. To the left, a little girl can be seen in bare feet as she stares nervously at the floor. At the front, a little boy wearing a cap is seen leaning on a wooden crutch
SS guards are seen supervising the arrival of a transport of Hungarian Jews shortly after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Pictured far right is SS member Stefan Baretzki. He was conscripted into the SS and stationed at Auschwitz between 1942 and 1945. Author Mr Baxter said Baretzki ‘participated in mass murder by making selections, and was unrestrained in his beating of prisoners’
Two Jewish women wearing headscarves and coats walk gingerly in front of an SS guard shortly after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Behind them, an SS guard is seen standing at the head of a queue of Jewish men who are waiting to be inspected Those deemed fit to work were taken to be admitted into the camp, the rest were sent to be gassed
A transport of Jews hold their belongings shortly after arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many of these Jews were deported from Berehovo, near Hungary’s border with what is now Ukraine. This photograph was taken from the album belonging to SS officer Bernhardt Walter, who was head of the Auschwitz photographic laboratory known as Erkennungsdienst (identification Service). The album was made to be presented to camp commandant Rudolf Hoss
Those selected to die at Auschwitz-Birkenau included almost all children, women with small children, the elderly and others who were deemed not to be fit for work after a brief inspection by an SS doctor. Pictured above: Hungarian Jews crowd together while awaiting selection shortly after arrival at the camp
The above image shows Jewish women and children who have been judged not fit to work walking to be murdered in the gas chambers. Jewish women and children who have been selected for death walk in a line towards the gas chambers. Every year, millions of people now visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau site, which stands as evidence of the horrific crimes which were committed
SS members stand guard as Hungarian Jews queue following their arrival at Auschwitz Birkenau. Mr Baxter said members of the SS had specifically chosen to work in concentration camps, rather than being posted to fight in the War. ‘They thought they could be really harsh and nasty and cruel, knowing they could get away with it,’ he said
Hungarian Jews are seen getting off a freight train after a gruelling journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau in which they were packed tightly together. The women, children and old people in the above group will most likely have been condemned to death shortly after their arrival
Women and children are seen above jumping from the freight trains shortly after their arrival at Auschwitz. Among them is a boy seen holding a younger child in his arms. In the foreground, a young man wearing a hat looks at a woman who is also holding a child
These women and children still wearing the clothes they arrived in are seen standing shortly after being selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Construction works are seen taking place near the main entrance to Birkenau, which was built next to Auschwitz. The image is believed to have been taken in the spring or summer of 1943. In May 1944, commandant Hoss supervised the laying of a railway line through the main entrance. It was built specifically to transport Hungarian Jews to the camp
This photograph shows prisoners digging drainage ditches at Birkenau. Those who were selected to work had to endure horrific conditions in the freezing cold and were given very little food
The images of are revealed in upcoming book Hitler’s Death Camps in Occupied Poland – Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives, written by military historian Ian Baxter and published by Pen & Sword
The Nazis’ concentration and extermination camps: The factories of death used to slaughter millions
Auschwitz-Birkenau, near the town of Oswiecim, in what was then occupied Poland
Auschwitz-Birkenau was a concentration and extermination camp used by the Nazis during World War Two.
The camp, which was located in Nazi-occupied Poland, was made up of three main sites.
Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a combined concentration and extermination camp and Auschwitz III–Monowitz, a labour camp, with a further 45 satellite sites.
Auschwitz, pictured in 1945, was liberated by Soviet troops 76 years ago on Wednesday after around 1.1million people were murdered at the Nazi extermination camp
Auschwitz was an extermination camp used by the Nazis in Poland to murder more than 1.1 million Jews
Birkenau became a major part of the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’, where they sought to rid Europe of Jews.
An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, of whom at least 1.1 million died – around 90 percent of which were Jews.
Since 1947, it has operated as Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Treblinka, near a village of the same name, outside Warsaw in Nazi-occupied Poland
Unlike at other camps, where some Jews were assigned to forced labor before being killed, nearly all Jews brought to Treblinka were immediately gassed to death.
Only a select few – mostly young, strong men, were spared from immediate death and assigned to maintenance work instead.
The death toll at Treblinka was second only to Auschwitz. In just 15 months of operation – between July 1942 and October 1943 – between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were murdered in its gas chambers.
Exterminations stopped at the camp after an uprising which saw around 200 prisoners escape. Around half of them were killed shortly afterwards, but 70 are known to have survived until the end of the war
Belzec, near the station of the same name in Nazi-occupied Poland
Belzec operated from March 1942 until the end of June 1943. It was built specifically as an extermination camp as part of Operation Reinhard.
Polish, German, Ukrainian and Austrian Jews were all killed there. In total, around 600,000 people were murdered.
The camp was dismantled in 1943 and the site was disguised as a fake farm.
Belzec operated from March 1942 until the end of June 1943. It was built specifically as an extermination camp as part of Operation Reinhard
Sobibor, near the village of the same name in Nazi-occupied Poland
Sobibor was named after its closest train station, at which Jews disembarked from extremely crowded carriages, unsure of their fate.
Jews from Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union were killed in three gas chambers fed by the deadly fumes of a large petrol engine taken from a tank.
An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the camp. Some estimations put the figure at 250,000.
This would place Sobibor as the fourth worst extermination camp – in terms of number of deaths – after Belzec, Treblinka and Auschwitz.
The camp was located about 50 miles from the provincial Polish capital of Brest-on-the-Bug. Its official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor.
Prisoners launched a heroic escape on October 14 1943 in which 600 men, women and children succeeded in crossing the camp’s perimeter fence.
Of those, only 50 managed to evade capture. It is unclear how many crossed into allied territory.
Majdanek (also known simply as Lublin), built on outskirts of city of Lublin in Nazi-occupied Poland
Majdanek was initially intended for forced labour but was converted into an extermination camp in 1942.
It had seven gas chambers as well as wooden gallows where some victims were hanged.
In total, it is believed that as many as 130,000 people were killed there.
Majdanek (pictured in 2005) was initially intended for forced labour but was converted into an extermination camp in 1942
Chelmno (also known as Kulmhof), in Nazi-occupied Poland)
Chelmno was the first of Nazi Germany’s camps built specifically for extermination.
It operated from December 1941 until April 1943 and then again from June 1944 until January 1945.
Between 152,000 and 200,000 people, nearly all of whom were Jews, were killed there.
The saddest of anniversaries: 76 years after Auschwitz was liberated, thousands around the world mark the day in private as Covid-19 prevents the usual large ceremonies
By Tim Stickings for MailOnline
The world is marking Holocaust Memorial Day in the midst of the pandemic today as memorial events take place online and vulnerable survivors shield from the
The Auschwitz museum is holding a virtual event emphasising the fate of the 200,000 children who were murdered at the Nazi death camp, where only 700 youngsters remained alive when the Red Army arrived on January 27, 1945.
The survivors who were young then are now among the most vulnerable to a disease that preys on the elderly, especially because many of them suffer medical problems caused by their inhuman treatment at German hands.
Pope Francis called for remembrance today while Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin will join a virtual event in a country where many Holocaust survivors have already been inoculated against Covid-19 a world-leading vaccine drive.
Hundreds of surviving victims in Austria and Slovakia were also poised to get their first vaccines on Wednesday to mark the anniversary.
GERMANY: A rose was left in tribute this morning on one of the blocks that make up the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, officially the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
POLAND: A mass grave at a military cemetery in Warsaw is seen this morning as the world marks a virtual Holocaust Memorial Day due to the pandemic
The president of the European Jewish Congress said on Monday that some Holocaust survivors had died alone or suffered ‘extreme isolation’ because of the pandemic.
‘Throughout their lives, they have shown mighty strength of spirit, but in the current crisis, many have sadly died alone and in pain,’ Dr Moshe Kantor said.
‘Therefore, I call on European leaders to ensure that Holocaust survivors have access as soon as possible to a safe and effective vaccination and with the highest priority.’
He also warned that conspiracy theories and extremism had spread during the pandemic, alluding to how social and economic crisis helped bring Hitler to power and thereby unleash the Holocaust.
‘The pandemic has created the social conditions where antisemitism and extremism thrive,’ he warned.
At Auschwitz, a memorial event will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the museum’s website later on Wednesday.
The main theme will be the fate of children in Auschwitz, who made up nearly a fifth of the 1.1million people killed at the extermination camp.
‘200,000 children were murdered in Auschwitz. Completely innocent, good, curious about life, loving their closest ones, trusting children,’ said museum director Piotr Cwyinski.
‘The adult world – after all, so often unjust and cruel – has never demonstrated so much of its heartlessness, its evil.
‘This cannot be justified by any ideology, reckoning or politics. This year we want to dedicate the anniversary of liberation to the youngest victims of the camp.’
GERMANY: Wreaths are left at the ‘Platform 17’ memorial in Berlin to commemorate the deportation of Jewish victims on the German railway network
GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel and president Frank-Walter Steinmeier were among the dignitaries at a special session of parliament in Berlin this morning to mark the anniversary
ITALY: People pay tribute to Holocaust victims at a ceremony in Turin on Wednesday morning, in one of the few in-person events to take place on the anniversary
GREECE: A woman walks past a Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki on the 76th anniversary today
While many commemorations have moved online for the first time, one constant is the drive of survivors to tell their stories as words of caution.
‘We have to tell our stories so it doesn’t happen again,’ 91-year-old survivor Rose Schindler said on Monday from her home in California.
‘It is unbelievable what we went through, and the whole world was silent as this was going on.’
Friedman says she believes it is her role to ‘sound the alarm’ about rising anti-Semitism and other hatred in the world, otherwise ‘another tragedy may happen.’
That hatred, she said, was on clear view when a mob inspired by former US president Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol on January 6.
Some insurrectionists wore clothes with anti-Semitic messages like ‘Camp Auschwitz’ and ‘6MWE,’ which stands for ‘6 million wasn’t enough.’
At the Vatican today, the Pope marked the anniversary by urging people to watch out for extremism because ‘these things can happen again’.
‘To remember is an expression of humanity. To remember is a sign of civility. To remember is a condition for a better future of peace and fraternity,’ he said.
‘To remember also means being careful because these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that claim to want to save a people but end up destroying a people and humanity.’
In Germany, the government says it wants to use the digital format to ‘reach more people than ever’ and educate them about the Holocaust.
‘Millions of people were victims of the Nazis. That makes the repeated efforts to exploit, relativise or forget that suffering for political purposes all the more unbearable,’ said German culture minister Monika Gruetters.
Angela Merkel will give the keynote address later at an online event organised by the UN, UNESCO and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The ceremony will be followed by a panel discussion on Holocaust denial involving a survivor of the genocide and leading historians.
POLAND: The entrance to Auschwitz, with its infamous sign saying ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ or ‘Work sets you free’, is seen on Monday ahead of the anniversary
GERMANY: Flowers decorated with a ribbon in the colours of the German flag are left at the Berlin Holocaust memorial on Wednesday morning
POLAND: Wreaths lie in front of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw on Wednesday
IHRA chair Michaela Kuechler said: ‘Remembrance plays a critical role in fighting the persistent forces of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion.
‘This is because remembrance ties us fundamentally to the facts, to what took place and the people it affected.
‘When we remember, when we strive to reflect upon this suffering, we understand that as unimaginable as it is, it is just as undeniable.’
Merkel and German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier were present at a special session of parliament in Berlin this morning where lawmakers were due to hear from a survivor who later became president of Germany’s top Jewish organisation.
In Austria, more than 400 survivors were expected to get a coronavirus vaccine at Vienna’s largest vaccination centre to mark the memorial day on Wednesday.
Mostly in their 80s or 90s, many of them were being brought in by shuttle or ambulance while others were escorted by their children.
‘We owe this to them,’ said Erika Jakubovits of the Jewish Community of Vienna. ‘They have suffered so much trauma and have felt even more insecure during this pandemic.’
Jakubovits organized the vaccination drive with the Austrian health ministry and officials in Vienna, where twelve Jewish doctors volunteered to give the vaccines.
In a similar project to that in Vienna, the Jewish community of Bratislava in Slovakia was also set to vaccinate survivors on Wednesday.
‘We’re very, very grateful that the vaccinations are taking place on this symbolic day,’ said Tomas Stern, the head of the Jewish community in Bratislava.
Some 128 survivors were to receive their first shot at Bratislava’s Jewish community center on Wednesday and another 330 across the country in the coming days.
In Israel, home to many Holocaust survivors, more than 80 per cent of those over 70 have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 60 per cent have received the second dose.
Because Israel’s vaccination campaign has moved so quickly, there was no need to single out Holocaust survivors.
Still, about 900 Holocaust survivors died of Covid-19 in Israel last year before vaccines were available and about 5,300 survivors were infected, according to Israel’s national statistics office.
‘We can be the light that ensures the darkness can never return’: Prince Charles leads royal family in tribute to victims on Holocaust Memorial Day as Kate Middleton and Prince William honour survivors
By Harriet Johnston for MailOnline
The Prince of Wales has urged people to remember Holocaust Memorial Day today as he lead the
In a video shared on the Clarence House
The royal, who is patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: ‘This is our time when we can, each in our own way, be the light that ensures the darkness can never return.’
The tributes reflected on one of the darkest periods in human history, when 11million victims – including six million Jews – were gassed, shot and starved in Nazi death camps.
The notorious train-track entrance to Auschwitz, through which over a million were taken to their deaths, was stormed by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.
The Prince of Wales, 71, has urged people to remember Holocaust Memorial Day today as he lead the royal family in tributes to victims and survivors
In a moving speech which is set to be broadcast at an online memorial later day, Prince Charles said people should try to ‘be the light’
National landmarks across Britain, including Wembley Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the Tyne Bridge, will be bathed in purple light at 8pm to mark Wednesday’s memorial, while the traditional remembrance ceremony will be hosted online from 7pm due to lockdown rules.
People have been urged to show their support by lighting a candle in their window following the conclusion of the hour-long ceremony.
Pre-recorded messages from the likes of Premier League footballers Jordan Henderson and Bruno Fernandes, plus contributions from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, religious leaders, and celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls, will all feature in the online service.
This year’s theme – being the light in the darkness – was decided 18 months ago, but the global coronavirus pandemic which has seen deaths, ill-health, economic ruin, school closures and mental health problems means it has taken on added resonance.
Kate Middleton, 39, and Prince William, 38, also shared a touching tribute post online alongside photographs as they met with survivors in 2017
In the clip, which will play at the ceremony, Charles said: ‘As I speak, the last generation of living witnesses is tragically passing from this world, so the task of bearing witness falls to us.
‘This is not a task for one time only, nor is it a task for one generation, or one person. It is for all people, all generations, and all time.’
Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also shared a poignant Instagram post to mark the day.
They wrote: On #HolocaustMemorialDay we commemorate and honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and of recent genocides.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared several photographas they met Holocaust survivors Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg
‘Later today we will share a special conversation between The Duchess and Holocaust survivors Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who The Duke and Duchess met at Stutthof in 2017, and youth ambassadors from the Holocaust Educational Trust.
‘As young boys, Zigi and Manfred both spent time in ghettos and a number of labour and concentration camps, including Stutthof in Poland where they met for the first time in 1944, and remain friends to this day.
‘Of the 110,000 men, women and children who were imprisoned in the camp during the Holocaust, as many as 65,000 lost their lives – including 28,000 Jews.’
They continued: ‘Together on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, we bear witness for those who endured genocide, and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition. We must never forget.’
Later today, the royal couple will share a video clip from a conversation between Kate, Zigi and Manfred, as well as youth embassadors from the Holocaust Educational Trust
Alongside the post, the couple shared photographs as they met with Zigi and Manfred in 2017, as well as a black and white photo of the men in their youth.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), said Holocaust survivors were the perfect inspiration for positivity.
Karen said: ‘There has been real distress and pain and suffering felt in this country and around the world in this pandemic.
What is Holocaust Memorial Day?
Every January on Holocaust Memorial Day, the world remembers the six million Jews and millions of other minorities who were killed during the genocide of World War II.
As directed by Hitler’s Nazi party, the Holocaust, also known as the Shoah in Hebrew, is a term to describe the genocide of Jews and other minorities during World War II.
January 27, 1945 is the day the Auschwitz concentration camp in modern-day Poland was liberated by the Soviets.
With the Soviets arriving nearly eight months before the war ended, many had been sent out on a death march and 7,000 sick and dying people remained.
In the five years that Auschwitz was open, an estimated 1.1 million people were killed at the concentration camp. 90 percent were Jewish and the rest were a mix of Romany people, Soviets and Poles.
One in six Jews killed in World War II died at Auschwitz after being brought to the camp across Europe by train.
By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children died in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps.
Studies have also revealed that the true death toll could be as many as 20 million people.
All over the world, commemorative events will take place to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, but also subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are remembered to try and end racial violence once and for all.
‘But the survivors I spoke to – many who are shielding – are the epitome of strength and are getting on with it.
‘Bearing in mind what they have experienced and suffered, they give words of wisdom to just keep going, we are going to get out of this.
‘I find that pretty inspiring from 90-year-old survivors who have been through the very worst and could easily let this get on top of them. But this says a lot about them because they really are remarkable.’
As young boys, Zigi and Manfred both spent time in ghettos and a number of labour and concentration camps, including Stutthof in Poland where they met for the first time in 1944
Karen said the Holocaust was important to remember because it was ‘part of British history’.
She said: ‘A lot of people might think it happened somewhere else to someone else, but what we understand really is that the Holocaust happened to people in this country – survivors living here now, or people who fled and became British citizens – but also those members of the armed forces who liberated (concentration camp) Bergen-Belsen in April 1945.
‘So my message to people this year is this: Hear the stories, listen to the eyewitnesses, find out about what happened to these people, and understand that when we are learning about the past, it is for the sake of learning history but it is also because we can learn from it.’