The Holocaust Revisited: A Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex


World War II aerial photography, use of,
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The Holocaust Revisited
The Extermination Process
Background: Extermination operations in progress at Birkenau were recorded on aerial photography of 25 August 1944. By that time, rail transports of prisoners were being channeled into Auschwitz from locations throughout occupied Europe in a desperate attempt to achieve the "Final Solution" prior to the collapse of the Nazi war machine. After a trip lasting from a few hours to days, those who survived the journey faced a selection process. SS "doctors" screened the prisoners to determine those fit to be used as slave laborers and those to be exterminated. Those selected as laborers were sent "to the right" while those to be exterminated were sent "to the left," according to numerous eyewitness accounts of these last tragic moments.'
Photo Evidence: A IOX enlargement of imagery acquired on 25 August covers only the southern third of Birkenau and is of very high quality for its day (Photo 4). The imagery illustrates eyewitness accounts of the death process at Birkenau. A rail transport of 33 cars is at the Birkenau railhead and debarkation point. Prisoners can be seen beside the train. The selection process is either under way or completed. One group of prisoners is apparently being marched to Gas Chamber and Crematorium II.
- Kraus and Kulka, The Death Factory, pp. 130-141.

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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2011 03:12 PM