The Colour of Time shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2018

The Colour Of Time has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2018 and I can't thank you guys enough for supporting this project so much. 2 years of hard work and dedication have been translated into this beautiful book, and the fact that you love it as much as we do really means the world to us!

It has been a crazy and exciting journey, and I can't wait for what's coming next... The winner will be chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by James Daunt, and the final decision will be announced on Thursday 29 November.

Full shortlist

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The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960

Early in the 16th century Leonardo da Vinci jotted in his notebook a few lines about perspective. As objects get further away, he wrote, three things seen to happen. They get smaller. They become less distinct. And they lose colour. Da Vinci was writing about painting, but his words can be applied literally no photography and metaphorically to History. We understand that the world has always been as vivid, immediate, colorful and real as it seems to us today.

Yet vivid and colorful is definitely not the way we see the past now. This book is an attempt to restore brilliance to a desaturated world. It is a history in colour. Among the pages are collected 200 photographs taken between 1850 and 1960. All were originally monochrome, but they have been digitally colourized with the effect - we hope - of making us look afresh at a dramatic and formative age in human history.

Here is a stage on which dance titans and tyrants, murderers and martyrs, genius, inventors and would-be destroyed worlds. The is the product of two years’ collaboration. In selecting photographs we have tried to spread out gaze across continents and cultures, and to commingle the famous with the forgotten. We have tried to honor the dead and do justice to their times. We looked at perhaps 10,000 photographs. We agonized, and changed our minds. We tried to pack in as much as we could, knowing all the while that out of the 10,000 possible options 9,800 were destined for the cutting-room floor. The ratio alone confirms that this is not a comprehensive history - how could it be? But it is, we hope, a new way of looking at the world during a time of monumental change.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to create. We hope you enjoy reading it. 
Marina Amaral & Dan Jones


Faces of Auschwitz: Iwan Rebałka

IWAN REBAŁKA was born on February 6, 1925 to Nastasja and, his father, Maksym Rybałka. At the time, the family lived in Syrowatka, Kreis Krasnopilla, Russland—an area which is now the sovereign territory of Ukraine. According to documents recovered from KL Auschwitz, Iwan belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church and was a milkman by trade when he was arrested in Bielowody, Kreis Myropilla, Russland. 

Iwan and 56 other individuals were deported to the concentration camp on August 20, 1942. Once there, he was registered as a Russian political prisoner and assigned the number 60308. All told, an estimated 1500 Russian political prisoners—civilians—were sent to KL Auschwitz before the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army’s 322nd Rifle Division on January 27, 1945. At the time that the Soviets took control of the camp, there were estimated to be only 7000 prisoners left behind its walls, all of whom were in poor health or dying. 

Sadly, Iwan was not among those rescued. 

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Iwan died on 1 March 1943. His death certificate attributes the cause of death to a perinephric abscess, however, this information was, almost always, false. Iwan was actually murdered with a phenol injection into his heart: on 1 March 1943 Rapportführer Gerhard Palitzsch took at least 82 boys aged 13 to 17 from Birkenau to the main camp (Poles, Jews, and Russians). They were placed in a room in Block 20 (one of the camp infirmary blocks) and, in the evening, were all killed with phenol injections by SS-Unterscharführer Scherpe. Iwan was among them.

A list of numbers of boys murdered on 1 March 1943:

29502, 30559, 32924, 37112, 44114, 47831, 57296, 60308, 60460, 73614, 73963, 78174, 79662, 80451, 82074, 82192, 82357, 82613, 82633, 82747, 82763, 82764, 82767, 2782, 82783, 84960, 87924, 88138, 88217, 90044, 90062, 91059, 93446, 93941, 95086, 95095, 95099, 95267, 95272, 95338, 95424, 95909, 96159, 96198, 96661, 96720, 97242, 97301, 97830, 98079, 98525, 98529, 98562, 98590, 99278, 99429, 99639, 99711, 100184, 100211, 100220, 100268, 100309, 100330, 100368, 100573, 100642, 101189, 101368, 101527, 102535, 102566, 102567, 102585, 102691, 102845, 103419, 103462 i 103504 as well as 86453 & 100252. 

 A page from the surgery block of the camp hospital - Iwan was admitted there on 30 November 1942.

A page from the surgery block of the camp hospital - Iwan was admitted there on 30 November 1942.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above.

Author: Séamus Bellamy.
Editor: Marina Amaral
Sponsored by: Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund.

Faces of Auschwitz: Gersz Zysking

GERSZ ZYSKING was born November 17, 1913, in Łódź (the so-called Kingdom of Poland at the time, part of the Russian empire). He was registered as a prisoner of KL Auschwitz on June 9, 1942 and assigned the number 39178. His time in the concentration camp was brief: according to the official records kept by Auschwitz’s SS administrators, Gersz died on August 4, 1942—a little over a month from the time that he was incarcerated and a few months short of his 29th birthday. 

We know very little about Gersz Zyskind. We cannot tell what he did for a living before the Nazis came for him or who he loved and what he aspired to. All that is left of Gersz are these photographs. His eyes tell a story of a young man simultaneously terrified and numb. 

The Litzmannstadt Ghetto

The Wehrmacht captured Łódź on September 8, 1939—spoils taken as part of their victory over the Armia Łódź (Łódź Army) as part of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. Shortly after establishing order in the city (the name of the town was changed to German Litzmannstadt), the ghetto was created within the city’s borders. Designed as a holding area for Polish Jews and Roma, the Litzmannstadt Ghetto was the second largest ghetto in German-occupied Europe second in size only to the Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland. The Litzmannstadt Ghetto was established in February 1940 and completely isolated end of April. At that time, it contained 164,000 residents. This number was further bolstered by Jews forcefully transported to the city from Germany and other parts of occupied European territories. Despite the intake of new arrivals, the number of people kept in the Ghetto fell over time as deportations to concentration and extermination camps increased - a consequence of many of the Jews and Roma who were forced to call the ghetto home being deported to extermination camps. By May 1st of the following year, the population of the ghetto had shrunk to 148,547.


The Nazi hateful anti-Jewish policies and disdain for the disabled, Roma and other groups that they deemed to be unusable or undesirable ensured that the population of the ghetto continued to shrink. In July of 1941, the majority ofmost of the the ghetto’s psychiatric hospital patients were tranquilized and removed to an unknown location, never to be seen again. 


On 20 December, 1941, 20,000 Jews were ordered to be deported from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto to a number of undisclosed concentration camps. The individuals to be deported were chosen by the ghetto’s Judenrat – an administrative council composed of Jews, chosen by German authorities to ensure that their orders were carried out within the ghetto. In January 1942, 10,000 additional Jews were deported to the Chełmno (Kulmhof) extermination center to be killed by the carbon monoxide gas produced in modified cargo vans. Between April and early September 1942, it is estimated that another 55,000 residents of the Łódź ghetto were separated from their loved ones and brutally killed at the hands of Nazi executioners.

In September 1942, in the wake of a raid on a Jewish children’s hospital where eyewitnesses saw Jewish children being loaded into the back of trucks, flung out of windows by Nazi German soldiers, the Judenrat was ordered to select an additional 24,000 people for deportation. At the time, food, shelter and what medicines there were, came as a result of working for Nazi Germany to produce goods for the war effort. 12-hour workdays were a fact of life in the ghetto. Chaim Rumkowski, the head of the Council of Elders of the Litzmannstadt ghetto, believed that maintaining peak productivity was the best chance for survival that the Jews of the city could hope for. Hoping to save the majority of the ghetto inmates, Rumkowski cooperated with the Nazis and continued to organize waves of deportation to extermination and concentration camps. In September 1942, Rumkowski decided that the most unproductive residents of the ghetto—the 11,000 elderly and 13,000 children—would be chosen for deportation. At the time, the fact that deportation was a death sentence at the hands of Nazi Germany was no secret to the residents of the ghetto. Rumkowski himself was later transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

By the time the Soviet Army liberated the town in 1945, only 877 Jews remained alive  in the area of the ghetto.

Learn more about the Jewish Councils (Judenrat).

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above.

Author: Séamus Bellamy.
Editor: Maria Zaleswska.
Sponsored by: Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund.

Faces of Auschwitz: Norbert Głuszecki, Rudolf Głuszecki, Seweryn Głuszecki.

NORBERT “ISRAEL” GŁUSZECKI was a notary public born on November 27th, 1886 in Podwołoczyska, near Tarnopol, to Ludwig and Sabina Głuszecki. Israel is not actually Norbert’s middle name. Under the Nuremberg Laws, antisemitic and racial laws in Nazi Germany, the government required all Jews to identify themselves in ways that would permanently separate them from the rest of the German population. Jewish men and women with first names of “non-Jewish” origin had to add “Israel” and “Sara,” to their given names.

On April 17th, 1942 the Sipo und SD from Cracow ordered the transportation of 58 Poles to Auschwitz, including Norbert and his sons. Eight of these prisoners were registered as Jews and all of them perished in the camp. Upon arrival Norbert was given his new identity, number 29801.

SEWERYN GŁUSZECKI, a student born on 19 June 1925, received number 29803 at Auschwitz. He perished in the camp on 20 June 1942.

RUDOLF GŁUSZECKI, a university student born in Tarnopol on 12 October 1921 received number 29802. He perished in the camp on 24 June 1942.

Nuremberg Laws

All German Jews were required to carry identity cards that indicated their heritage, and, beginning in 1938, all Jewish passports were stamped with an identifying red letter “J”. As Nazi leaders quickened their war preparations, antisemitic legislation in Germany and Austria prepared the path for the radical persecutions of Jews.

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Passport of Berta "Sara" Schneider

All German Jews were required to carry identity cards that indicated their heritage, and, beginning in 1938, all Jewish passports were stamped with an identifying red letter “J”.

While Norbert was born Jewish, he chose to convert to Catholicism. According to documents that survived, his son Rudolf also converted. It is likely that that was also the case of the entire family. Unfortunately, this did not protect Norbert or his family from the wrath of the Nazi ideology. We also do not know when such a change was made.

Faced with the reality of persecution, some Jews converted to Christianity or Catholicism before and during the Holocaust. While in 1941 the Romanian authorities enforced a law banning conversions, conversion to Roman Catholicism was treated differently. The Romanian papal nuncio, Monsignor Andrea Cassulo, as well as some of the Roman Catholic churches were willing to convert Jews as a way of helping them escape victimization under Nazi-occupied Europe. However, Germans still viewed Jews who converted to Catholicism as Jewish. The Nazis believed that being Jewish was not an issue of religion or self-identity but an issue of race, and if a person was a Jew according to their definition this person could not truly change their fate.

 The Nuremberg Laws, as they became known, did not define a "Jew" as someone with particular religious beliefs. Instead, anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents was defined as a Jew, regardless of whether that individual identified himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish religious community. Many Germans who had not practiced Judaism for years found themselves caught in the grip of Nazi terror. Even people with Jewish grandparents who had converted to Christianity were defined as Jews. Source: USHMM.

The Nuremberg Laws, as they became known, did not define a "Jew" as someone with particular religious beliefs. Instead, anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents was defined as a Jew, regardless of whether that individual identified himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish religious community. Many Germans who had not practiced Judaism for years found themselves caught in the grip of Nazi terror. Even people with Jewish grandparents who had converted to Christianity were defined as Jews. Source: USHMM.

Death certificates

Norbert’s death certificate has his cause of death listed as ileus, a painful obstruction of the ileum or part of the intestine. While this would seem to be a legitimate reason for one to pass away, the Nazis often falsified records if they didn’t, in fact, destroy them all together. Prisoners were assigned to work in the camp hospitals, ordered to keep all documentation to help the Nazis supervise the hospitals, while also disguising the truth of the reality of the concentration camps. It was a regular occurrence for false causes of death to be entered into documentation that was prepared after the death of prisoners. When larger groups were put to death, the dates were also falsified, so that they would be distributed over a period of two or three weeks, hiding the reality of how many people were actually being murdered at a frightening speed. On top of falsifying the records, many times they never added any information at all and this paired with the destruction of records towards the end of the war explains why so little is known about so many victims. The Nazis erased them completely from society.

 Death certificate of Norbert Gluszecki

Death certificate of Norbert Gluszecki

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above.

Writer of this piece: Alexandra Cummings.
Sponsored by: Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund.

Faces of Auschwitz: Józefa Głazowska

JÓZEFA GŁAZOWSKA was born on March 19th, 1930, in the village of Sitaniec, near Zamość. Along with her parents and a group of around 370 people, Józefa was expelled from her village on December 6th, 1942. She was deported to Auschwitz in a transport of 318 women and children, and arrived at the camp in the same transport as Czesława Kwoka. Józefa was a child victim of Aktion Zamość.

Aktion Zamość was carried out as part of a greater plan: the forcible removal of the entire Polish populations from targeted regions of occupied Poland in preparation for the state-sponsored settlement of the ethnic German Volksdeutsche. According to historical sources, during Aktion Zamość the German police and military expelled 116,000 Polish men and women in just a few months. The operation of mass expulsions from the Zamojszczyzna region around the city of Zamość (now in Lublin Voivodeship, Poland) was carried out between November 1942 and March 1943, on direct orders from Heinrich Himmler. 

On December 13th, 1942, Józefa was registered with the no. 26886 at Auschwitz. She was deported with her mother Marianna, who in February 1943, was selected within the camp and transferred to Block 25 (the block of death - the isolation station where people awaited to be killed). Marianna was murdered in a gas chamber, while Józefa’s father was also deported to Auschwitz in a different transport, ultimately leading to his death. Like many children during the Holocaust, Józefa became an orphan. 

Nazi Medical Experiments

In Auschwitz, Józefa went through pseudo-medical experiments – most likely causing her to be infected with malaria or typhus. Such experiments were conducted in many camps and on a wide scale, with prisoners being used as guinea pigs in the Nazis’ search for medical answers.

The participation of numerous German physicians in criminal medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners was a particularly drastic instance of the trampling of medical ethics. The initiators and facilitators of these experiments were Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, together with SS-Obergruppenführer Ernst Grawitz, the chief physician of the SS and police, and SS-Standartenführer Wolfram Sievers, the secretary general of the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage) Association and director of the Waffen SS Military-Scientific Research Institute. The SS-WVHA (SS Main Economic and Administrative Office, in charge of concentration camps from March 1942) had administrative and financial authority. Support in the form of specialized analytical studies came from the Waffen SS Hygiene Institute, directed by SS-Oberführer Joachim Mrugowsky, an M.D. and professor of bacteriology at the University of Berlin Medical School.

Experiments were planned at the highest levels to meet the needs of the army (some were intended to improve the state of soldiers’ health) or postwar plans (including population policy), or to reinforce the bases of racial ideology (including advancing views as to the superiority of the “Nordic race”). Aside from experiments planned at the highest levels, many Nazi doctors experimented on prisoners on behalf of German pharmaceutical companies or medical institutes. Others did so in pursuit of their personal interests, or to advance their academic careers. 

 A photo taken by the members of Soviet medical team documenting criminal experiments performed on prisoners in the camp. (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Archives)

A photo taken by the members of Soviet medical team documenting criminal experiments performed on prisoners in the camp. (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Archives)

The Nazis deliberately destroyed evidence of these horrific medical tests, the majority of proof coming from the statements made by the organizers of these experiments, as well as the testimonials given by victims and the results of their medical examinations.


During the evacuation of Auschwitz in January 1945, Józefa Głazowska along with a group of children were transferred to the camp in Potulice, where she finally found liberation. 

• Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Writer of this piece: Alexandra Cummings.

Sponsored by the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund.

Faces of Auschwitz: Vinzent (Vinzenz) Daniel

VINZENT (Vinzenz) DANIEL was born on August 15, 1919 in the village of Smrčná in Czechoslovakia. After being arrested in Prague by the criminal police he was deported to Auschwitz on April 29, 1942. In the camp he received number 33804 and was registered as a Czech, even though in fact he was of Roma origin.

Vinzent (Vinzenz) Daniel was assigned to the Buna Kommando, which worked within the premises of the chemical plant constructed by the IG Farben (Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG) concern. On May 27, 1942 around noon, he escaped from his workplace in the vicinity of the village of Zaborze. 

According to the account of the witnesses, the escapee ran across a field, then through the bottom of a drained pond and headed towards the nearby forest. Running, he took his striped uniform off and continued the escape only in underwear. His fate remains unknown. 

A dozen inhabitants of the village of Zaborze had to face repressions, as their houses were located near the escape route. They were arrested by the SS men and transported to the camp, where women and children were separated from men and accommodated in the attic of block 6. After being investigated for three months, they were released, while several men were incarcerated in the camp, where they perished.

 Telegram sent by the Gestapo upon the escape of Vinzent Daniel.

Telegram sent by the Gestapo upon the escape of Vinzent Daniel.

Testimony of Marian Skorupa, aged 14 at the time of the described events. APMA-B, Testimonies Fonds, vol. 119, pp. 147, 150‒151. 

"On May 27, 1942 … the four of us were working at the pond. It was scorching that day, the sun was shining. Suddenly, around noon, we saw a man running onto the edge of the pond where we were working. We were surprised because he was wearing only his underwear. The man was running quickly through the pond, which was still drained at the time, then headed in the south-eastern direction, towards the forest located there.

My incarceration in block 6 lasted a few weeks, nearly a month. One day, as many times before, I was called for the next questioning, together with my mother and Stanisław Smętek, who was younger than me. After the questioning my mother was led again to block 6 in Auschwitz, while I and Stanisław Smętek were led towards the barrier gate, located near the Soła river. It was the place where the SS man escorting us handed us over to the SS man standing on the other side of the barrier. Maybe he mentioned something about releasing us, at least that is what I think. The second SS man asked us in Polish if we would be able to get home. I said that no, as I was afraid of marching alone next to the tower and through the territory belonging to the camp. The second SS man who I already mentioned escorted us along the road, or rather the embankment on the Soła river to the bridge next to the city of Oświęcim. When we reached the bridge, we told him that we would be able to get to our houses from there. We did not receive from the SS man any confirmation of our incarceration in Auschwitz or of the release from the camp."


At a conference held in Berlin on January 30, 1940, shortly after the outbreak of war, a decision was taken to expel all the Roma inhabitants from Germany. They were therefore progressively resettled to the General Government (occupied Poland) and held in the ghettos and camps intended for Jews. The reports of the SS Einsatzgruppen which operated in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union mention the murder of thousands of Romas along with the massive extermination of the Jews in these areas. Following the pseudoscientific arguments of the Institute for the Study of Racial Hygiene, the Nazi established strict rules for dealing with the Sinti and Roma, who were considered racially alien, inferior and asocial.

Already in the first years after the Nazi takeover of power, a number of legal restrictions were imposed on the Roma, such as: compulsory registration, the obligation to undergo racial tests and later also restrictions in their freedom of movement. A comment to the Nuremberg Laws of September 1935 stated that the Roma were racially inferior in the same way as the Jews and therefore they could not acquire the rights of Reich citizens.

Their deportations and executions came under Himmler's authority. On December 16, 1942, he issued an order to send all Roma to the concentration camps. The deported Romas were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where a special Roma camp was erected. The Roma were considered enemies of the Third Reich and therefore condemned to be isolated and ultimately killed. 

 Nurse Eva Justin determining the eye color of a young woman (Sinti /Roma)

Nurse Eva Justin determining the eye color of a young woman (Sinti /Roma)

The Zigeunerlager

As a result of this ruling, the Gypsy family camp known as the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp), which existed for 17 months, was set up in Auschwitz-Birkenau sector BIIe. Since sector BIIe was still under construction, some of the men were assigned to finish the building work, and others were assigned to other kinds of camp work in internal labor details. A significant portion of them, however, did not have regular work assignments.

The deportation of the Sinti and Roma began in February 1943 and continued until July 1944. The Sinti and Roma imprisoned in the camp came primarily from Germany, Austria, the Protectorate of Bavaria and Moravia, and Poland, with smaller groups arriving from France, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia/Croatia, Belgium, the USSR, Lithuania, and Hungary. There is also mention of Sinti and Roma citizens of Norway and Spain.

Insufficient food and the severe overcrowding in the so-called Zigeunerlager led to a dramatic deterioration in hygienic and sanitary conditions, which led in turn to frequent epidemics, especially of typhus and starvation diarrhea. These epidemics resulted in a high mortality rate among the prisoners. It is estimated that about 23 thousand men, women, and children were imprisoned in the camp. About 21 thousand were registered in the camp (including the more than 370 children estimated to have been born there). A group of about 1,700 Polish Sinti and Roma was murdered immediately after arriving at the camp, without being entered in the records. 

The group of approximately 1,700 Polish Sinti and Roma men, women, and children mentioned above arrived from Białystok on March 23, 1943. Cases of typhus were found among them. Fearing an outbreak, the camp authorities sent the group directly to the gas chamber. Several weeks later, on May 12, 1943, another group of Sinti and Roma from Białystok (468 men and 503 women) were placed in the camp. Since there continued to be a danger of a typhus outbreak in the Gypsy camp, the camp authorities ordered the selection of about a thousand Sinti and Roma —mostly from Białystok and Austria—on May 25, 1943. They, too, were killed in the gas chambers.

A group of 39 children (20 boys and 19 girls) from the St. Josefspflege orphanage in Mulfingen, near Stuttgart, was also sent to the Gypsy camp. Dr. Robert Ritter and Eva Justin of the Institute for the Study of Racial Hygiene carried out various tests on them before deportation. The main purpose of this research was to confirm that the supposed Gypsy traits were inborn; despite having been raised in a non-Gypsy environment, these children had allegedly been unable to overcome a disposition to theft, vagrancy, and resistance to assimilation.


During the time that the Zigeunerlager was in operation, some of the people imprisoned there were transferred over time to camps in the depths of the Reich where they labored in factories. Some of the people transferred were used in pseudomedical experiments. A few Gypsies were released on the condition that they undergo sterilization. There were other cases of the sporadic release from Auschwitz or transfer to camps in the Reich of Sinti and Roma who had served in the German army or received military decorations, and who came from mixed marriages. The most frequent reason for release was intervention by non-Gypsy relatives.

The Sinti and Roma tried as best they could to cope with the misery of the camp; the fact that they remained with their loved ones surely helped. Many of them had musical instruments, and they set up an informal orchestra, which often played during visits by high-ranking officers.

Zigeunerlager in Birkenau existed until August 2, 1944. That evening, the approximately 3 thousand men, women, and children left in the camp were loaded onto trucks and driven to the gas chambers. The prisoners attempted to resist, but the SS crushed their opposition brutally.

Eyewitness accounts speak of the desperate attempts by Helene Hannemann, a German woman whose husband was a Gypsy, to save her life. She supposedly obtained a personal promise from Dr. Mengele that she and her five children would be spared. When SS men searching the abandoned camp found them in the Kindergarten barrack, they offered her a chance to go free on the condition that she leave her children behind. The disconsolate mother refused, and died with them in the gas chamber.

 SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Josef Mengele

From the end of May 1943 to August 1944, SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Josef Mengele held the post of head physician in the “Gypsy camp.” At the same time, as camp physician, he was on duty at hospitals and outpatient clinics in other parts of the camp. At the behest of the Institute for Anthropological and Biological-Race Research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Dahlem, he undertook anthropological studies of various racial groups, mostly Sinti and Roma and also of twins, especially identical twins. Part of the bathhouse (sauna) barracks in block 32 was set aside as a laboratory for him, where he carried out anthropometric studies of the twins at his disposal. A disease known as water cancer (noma faciei—gangrenous stomatitis), appeared in the Zigeunerlager in the summer of 1943. Previously unknown among prisoners, it attacked children and young people especially. Mengele began research on its causes and treatment.

Mengele ordered that a “Kindergarten,” a sort of nursery and preschool for children up to the age of 6—and also for those of special interest to him—be opened in the Zigeunerlager. At first, the children there received better food. However, this was purely a propaganda move. High-ranking SS officers and civilians on inspection trips to Auschwitz were taken to see the Kindergarten and photographed playing with the children.

Another area of research interest for Dr. Mengele was the biological anomaly known as heterochromia iridis, the appearance of differently colored eyes in the same person. Many Sinti and Roma prisoners who suffered from heterochromia were killed in the camp by order of Dr. Mengele. A number of examples of this phenomenon were collected in the camp sauna barracks, and later shipped to the Reich as prepared samples.

Mengele held the post of head physician of the Zigeunerlager until its liquidation. Later, he became camp physician (Lagerarzt) for the entire Birkenau camp.

The first Roma at Auschwitz

A small number of Roma were prisoners at Auschwitz before the special Gypsy family camp was set up at Birkenau. At the Auschwitz main camp they were registered with numbers from the general series, being usually categorized as 'asocial' (Asozialer - Aso), wearing a black triangular badge, or alternatively as political prisoners (Politischer - Pol) with a red triangular badge, on even as professional criminals (Berufsverbrecher - BV), which was the case of Vinzent Daniel, with a green triangular badge. The Roma were photographed during registration and next made to join various work squads. 


A total of about 23,000 Roma were deported by the Germans to Auschwitz, including 2,000 Roma murdered without being entered into the camp's records. 21,000 were registered in the camp, of which 19,000 died of starvation, diseases, brutal treatment, or were murdered in the gas chambers upon liquidation of the Gypsy camp.

Learn more from this online lesson provided by the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. 
Read more: Roma Victims of the Holocaust (Jewish Virtual Library).

Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Sponsored by the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund. 

Faces of Auschwitz: Prisoner 2731

Telling the personal stories of the prisoners of the German Nazi Auschwitz camp is important, and in some cases, difficult. During the evacuation of the camp in the final days of the Nazi's war with the Allied forces, the SS authorities who were responsible for the Auschwitz's operation, destroyed most of the camp's documentation. This included their prisoner's registration cards. 

Prisoners photos were also destroyed: approximately 80,000 photos were taken. The Auschwitz Memorial Archive stores and preserves 38,916 these photos. They include 31,969 photos of men and 6,947 photos of women.

In this instance, we have photographs, but we know little about the girl in the picture. We do not know her name or her birthday. We only know her number: 2731.

2731 was deported to Auschwitz in an RSHA (Main Reich Security Office) transport from Bratislava on March 28, 1942. There were 798 Jewish women in this group.  They received numbers ranging from 1999 to 2796. We do not know the fate of female prisoner number 2731. 

Approximately 26 thousand Slovak Jews were deported to Auschwitz (according to the borders during the World War 2).

The Holocaust in Slovakia

Though nominally independent, Slovakia was highly dependent on Nazi Germany after the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. In November 1940, Slovakia joined the Axis when its leaders signed the Tripartite Pact. In fulfillment of the requirements of the Axis partnership, Slovakia participated in the invasion of the Soviet Unionin June 1941 and declared war on Britain and the United States in December 1941.

Slovakia was also the first Axis partner to consent to the deportation of its Jewish residents in the framework of the "Final Solution." According to a census of December 15, 1940, there were about 88,951 Jews in Slovakia. In March 1942, Slovakia signed an agreement with Germany that permitted the deportation of the Slovak Jews. Between March and October 1942, Slovak gendarmes, assisted by Slovak military personnel, units of the Slovak People's Party's paramilitary organization, the Hlinka Guard, and members of the Slovak ethnic German paramilitary formation Freiwillige Schutzstaffel (Volunteer SS), concentrated some 57,000 Slovak Jews in indigenously established labor and concentration camps—mainly in the camps Sered, Novaky, and Vyhne.

The Slovak authorities then transported the Jews to the border of the Government General or the German Reich and turned them over to German SS and police. German authorities killed virtually all of these Jews in AuschwitzLublin/MajdanekSobibor, and other locations in German-occupied Poland. Perhaps 300 survived the war. Among them were Alfred Wetzler and Walter Rosenberg (alias Rudolf Vrba), who escaped from Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 and compiled the first detailed report on operations there for general dissemination in the west.

As reports, in part passed on by the Papal Nuncio in Bratislava, reached the Tiso government that the German authorities were murdering the Slovak Jews in German-occupied Poland, the Slovak President hesitated, and then refused, to deport the remaining 24,000 Jews in Slovakia in the autumn of 1942. During the deportations, some 6,000 Slovak Jews escaped to Hungary. On August 29, 1944, however, Slovak underground resistance organizations, Communist and non-Communist, rose against the Tiso regime as Soviet troops entered neighboring Subcarpathian Rus.

As the Slovak authorities were helpless to quell the uprising, German troops moved in. Einsatzgruppe H of the Security Police and SD, whose duties included rounding up and killing or deporting the remainder of the Slovak Jews, accompanied the Wehrmacht into Slovakia. Between September 1944 and the end of the year, German units deported approximately 12,600 Slovak Jews, most of them to Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, and other camps in Germany. German and Hlinka Guard units killed a few thousand Jews caught in hiding or fighting with the partisans in Slovakia.

Perhaps half of the Jews deported out of Slovakia during and just after the uprising ended in October 1944 survived. Thousands of Jews remained in hiding in Slovakia. In all, German and Slovak authorities deported more than 70,000 Jews from Slovakia; the Germans murdered more than 60,000 of them.

The Germans and their collaborators killed approximately 263,000 Jews who had resided on the territory of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1938.

Source: USHMM.

Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Sponsored by the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund. Contributor: Seamus Bellamy.

Faces of Auschwitz: Witold Pilecki | The man who volunteered for Auschwitz

WITOLD PILECKI was a reserve officer in the Polish Army born 13 May 1901 in Olonets, Russia. During World War II while attached to a Polish resistance group, he volunteered for an operation that saw him intentionally imprisoned in Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz death camp in order to gather intelligence on the site’s operations. As early as 1941, Pilecki’s reports informed the Western Allies of the atrocities being committed at the death camp. Before escaping Auschwitz, Pilecki organized a resistance movement right under the noses of the camp’s Nazi German overseers, kapos and administrative staff.

Before his time in Auschwitz, Pilecki fought against the Germans during the 1939 Defensive War*

A significant group of the first Auschwitz prisoners was Poles engaged in conspiracy activities, and the first transports that arrived in the camp from Warsaw carried members of the TAP. These prisoners, among others, were going to form the backbone of the military resistance movement. 

In the summer of 1940, with several members of TAP behind KL Auschwitz’s well-guarded perimeter, Major Włodarkiewicz decided it would be prudent to send an officer to the camp on an intelligence gathering mission: at the time, little was known about what went on inside of the camp. When Pilecki heard of Włodarkiewicz desire to send someone to the camp, he volunteered and presented a plan to infiltrate Auschwitz, gather first-hand information on its functions and organize a resistance movement inside the camp.  His plan was approved.

On 19 September 1940, Pilecki deliberately entered an area of Warsaw where the German Army was conducting a roundup of Polish civilians. 2,000 civilians, including Pilecki, were detained by the Germans that day. After two days of detention in the former barracks of Poland’s Light Horse Guards, where prisoners suffered beatings with rubber truncheons, Pilecki was sent to Auschwitz and was registered with number 4859. Since he carried false identification documents, he was registered under the name Tomasz Serafiński

That autumn, now a prisoner of Auschwitz, Pilecki created a new organization inside of the camp called the Union of Military Organization (Związek Organizacji Wojskowej or ZOW). ZOW quickly merged with another organization operating behind the camp’s walls, under the command of Union of Armed Struggle/Home Army (Związek Walki Zbrojnej or ZWZ/AK). This resistance organization aimed to help the morale of prisoners being held at KL Auschwitz by disseminating news from the fronts of World War II, clandestinely acquiring much needed food, clothing, and medicines for the prisoners, forwarding messages from  outside of the camp, assisting in the organization of escapes and preparing their own members to take over the camp in collaboration with the partisans operating in the area. 

Reports from members of the resistance movement were initially sent via prisoners released from the camp, through prisoners who managed to escape and then also by initiated civilian workers employed by the SS men during the expansion of Auschwitz. From the beginning of 1940, these reports began to arrive systematically in Warsaw. The first message sent by Pilecki reached London on 18 March 1941. This document primarily contained a description of crimes committed by the Germans and the situation and living conditions in the camp. For this reason, from the end of June 1942, one can encounter numerous references to the murder of Jews in the gas chambers and to the rapid increase in the number of registered Jewish prisoners. The bodies of people who were killed in the gas chambers were buried in mass graves, a practice also described in Pilecki's message, and these people did not even go through the registration procedure, which means that the number of victims is potentially larger than what we know today. In 1942, Pilecki's resistance movement was also broadcasting details on the number of arrivals and deaths in the camp and the inmates' conditions using a secret radio transmitter that was built by camp inmates. 

In the spring of 1943, after providing intelligence on the inner workings of Auschwitz to the Western Allies for close to three years, Pilecki, sensing that he could soon be exposed and feeling that it was important that he submitted a first-hand report on the horrors he’d seen in the camp, decided that it was time to escape. For this purpose, his ZOW compatriots arranged for him to be moved to the bakers' kommando, which worked outside the main camp (about 2 km north). Two other prisoners with whom he intended to escape, Edward Ciesielski and Jan Redzej, were also transferred to the same Kommando.

The escape

While working at the camp’s bakery, Pilecki, Ciesielski and Redzej made their escape during the night of 26/27 April 1943. The prisoners cut telephone and alarm ring wires, opened unlocked the front door with a duplicate key and slid the bolts locking the door, open. As soon as they were outside of the bakery building, the trio barricaded the door that they’d just exited to ensure they could not be easily followed and ran east. That night, they crossed the Soła river and swam across the Vistula river before reaching a nearby forest in a boat that they had managed to find.

After taking the day after their escape to recuperate, they continued their march east, crossing the border of the General Government. After a few more days of hard travel, the trio of escapees reached Nowy Wiśnicz near Bochnia, where they established contact with the regional Headquarters of the Home Army. Speaking to the Home Army’s regional commanders, Pilecki suggested the creation of a unit which would attack the Nazi German SS garrison in Auschwitz and liberate the prisoners. The regional command officers rejected Pilecki’s plan, saying that it would be unrealistic to assume that such an operation would be a success. 

In August 1943, Pilecki reached Warsaw, where, at the General Headquarters of the Home Army, he presented an extensively detailed report concerning resistance activities and the disposition of prisoners in Auschwitz: the murder of Poles, Soviet POWs, and Jews, and the establishment of the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp) for Sini & Roma prisoners.

 A telegram sent from the camp at 15:00 on 27 April 1943 reporting the escape

A telegram sent from the camp at 15:00 on 27 April 1943 reporting the escape

Sentenced to death

In August 1944, Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising* and was captured in the wake of the uprising’s collapse. As a result, Pilecki was sent to the Murnau POW camp in Bavaria. After the camp was liberated by the American military, he made his way to Italy to join the Polish Second Corps—a military unit that played an essential role during the Allies campaign in the region. Returning to Poland at the end of 1945, he performed intelligence work for the Second Corps. On 8 May 1947,  Pilecki was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego or MBP) Poland’s post-war communist secret police service. The pro-communist MBP were no friends to pro-western military forces like the Second Corps. Prior to his trial, Pilecki was repeatedly tortured, but he sought to protect other prisoners and revealed no sensitive information.

On 3 March 1948, a show trial took place. Pilecki was charged with illegal border crossing, use of forged documents, not enlisting with the military, carrying illegal arms, espionage for General Władysław Anders, espionage for "foreign imperialism" (thought to be British intelligence) and planning to assassinate several officials of the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. Pilecki denied the assassination charges, as well as espionage, although he admitted to passing information to the 2nd Polish Corps, of which he was an officer of. Accordingly, he claimed that he was not breaking any laws. He pleaded guilty to the other charges. Testimony against Pilecki was presented by a future Polish prime minister, Józef Cyrankiewicz, himself an Auschwitz survivor.  On 15 May, along with three of his comrades, Pilecki was sentenced to death. 

Witold Pilecki was murdered in Mokotów Prison on 25 May 1948 by a single gunshot to the back of the head. 

"The life of Witold Pilecki – besides his activities in the camp – was an example of a pro-state attitude of the highest order. After a year in the prison on Rakowiecka, undergoing torture, among others in the hands of his captor the secret police officer – Eugeniusz Chimczak, he was sentenced to death by a military court composed of Jan Hryckowian and Józef Badecki and was killed by a shot in the back of the head by the executioner Piotr Śmietański, at the age of 47," said Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz Museum.



* 1939 Defensive War: a series of battles that ended with Poland under Nazi Germany’s control. With Poland under German occupation, Pilecki changed tactics. Instead of fighting in an open war as a solider, he made his way to Warsaw where he helped to create a resistance group known as the Polish Secret Army (Tajna Armia Polska or TAP,) which came to be headed by Major Jan Włodarkiewicz.

* Warsaw Uprising: it was a major World War II operation, in the summer of 1944, by the Polish underground resistance, led by the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. 

Learn more about Polish military resistance at Auschwitz from the Auschwitz Memorial online exhibition at Google Cultural Institute.

Learn more about the resistance in Auschwitz.

Sem Título-3.jpg


Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Sponsored by the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund. Collaborator: Seamus Bellamy.

Faces of Auschwitz to release an exclusive short documentary soon. The story of Murray Goldfinger and the death marches.

Last week, the story of Murray Goldfinger, a Holocaust survivor, went viral on social media after his grandson Stephen decided to share something unusual that happened to Ms Goldfinger in January 1945. Murray (born Monek) was on The Death March west from Birkenau as Russian soldiers advanced from the east. He was tired, cold, and hungry. He saw something in the air, descending towards him. It hit him in the chest, and he caught it. A 2-lb piece of roast beef that saved his life.

I was so impressed by this story that I reached out to Stephen to introduce myself and my project, Faces of Auschwitz, to him. So I asked if it would be possible to send some questions to his grandfather because I would like to know his opinion about the project.

Stephen was extremely kind. Mr. Goldfinger, now 91, was hospitalized that same week. When he returned home, Stephen showed the pictures of Faces of Auschwitz to him, and filmed his testimonial and answers to my questions.

The result was more powerful than I expected. After seeing the colorized photos, he said, "It's like I'm there again looking at all those people."

I wanted to give Mr. Goldfinger one more chance to tell his story - something that he has been doing for 65 years. Faces of Auschwitz will release a short documentary soon, talking not only about his unbelievable story but also about the famous (and dreadful) death marches.

Check out the video for a piece of Murray Goldfinger's gripping testimonial.

To keep yourself up to date with anything related to Faces of Auschwitz, follow us on Twitter.

Faces of Auschwitz: Deliana Rademakers

DELIANA RADEMAKERS, born in 1923, was a Jehovah’s Witness, arrested while performing house-to-house ministry. After her initial incarceration in the occupied Netherlands, she was deported to Auschwitz via the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Deliana was registered on 20 November 1942 as prisoner 25563

In a final letter to her family, she shared her hope for freedom 'before Psalm 18:5 [The ropes of the Grave surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me] could be fulfilled' Within Deliana's religious tradition, the capitalization of the word 'Grave' implies that she was referring to Hell, rather than her final resting place. Deliana's letter continued, with greetings to the mother, her family, and the congregation of her Kingdom Hall, saying, "go bravely onwards without fear, Jehovah is with us, what can (mere) people do to us?" 

According to her death certificate, Deliana died in Auschwitz on 10 December 1942. 

 Farewell letter of Deliana Rademakers (1923 -1942). Collection of the Watch Tower Bible and Track Society of Emmen.

Farewell letter of Deliana Rademakers (1923 -1942). Collection of the Watch Tower Bible and Track Society of Emmen.


Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted by the Nazi regime.

The Nazi ideology was a complete contradiction between their morality and everyday practices. Even rendering homage to Hitler with the greeting “Heil Hitler!” was an affront to their faith. Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to participate in military training or serve in the army. This refusal was punishable by imprisonment, or even death. They also refused categorically to perform any work that, as they saw it, contributed directly to the war effort — as it is known, many German factories were mobilized for armaments production. As a result, many Witnesses, including women, were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

During the occupation, 20 Dutch Jehovah’s Witnesses were deported to Auschwitz.

The incomplete nature of the documentation and the various ways that prisoners were categorized makes it impossible to determine the exact number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Auschwitz. However, it can be stated that at least 387 Witnesses passed through (or died at) the camp within a period of 5 years. This includes at least 138 people classified in the IBV category (Internationale Bibelforscher - Vereinigung [International Association of Bible Researchers]) and marked with a purple triangle—in other words, they were sent to Auschwitz because of their faith. At least 249 others were included in other prisoner categories, most often that of political prisoners; for them, their faith was an indirect cause of their imprisonment.

The records indicate that at least 152 Witnesses (men and women) who were imprisoned in Auschwitz died—132 in Auschwitz, and the other 20 in camps they were transferred to, or during evacuation or immediately after liberation. This means that at least 32% of those deported to Auschwitz died there.

It is estimated that over 3 thousand prisoners classified in category IBV were held in the concentration camps. More than 2 thousand of them came from Germany. The others were deported from The Netherlands (200 to 250 people), Austria (200), and Poland (100), along with some from Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR.



Contributors: Auschwitz Memorial and Museum; Seamus Bellamy;
Please do not reproduce the photos without proper attribution and context.

Napoleon's Grande Armée veterans

Some of the earliest photographs of veterans are a series of fifteen original sepia views of members of Napoleon's army taken when these old soldiers were well into their 70's and 80's. It is not known how Mrs. Brown acquired them. They measure 12" tall by 10" wide and are mounted on stiff card. At some time in the 20th century, the name of each veteran and his regiment was inscribed in pencil on the verso of each. Ten examples are pictured below (two others will be added later).

Burg – Grenadier 23rd Regiment Inr(?) Garde 1815 (more correctly Fourrier of the Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard - Grenadiers de la Garde Imperiale)
Delignon – Marechal de Logis Guard Jager 1809 – 1815 (actually Marechal des Logis Chef - Sergeant Major Chasseurs ‘a’ cheval de la Garde Imperiale (Guard Horse Chasseurs)
Ducel – Guard Mameluk 1813 – 1815 (Mameluk de la Garde Imperiale)
Dupont - Fourrier 1st Hussar Regiment
Vitry – Garde departementale (Departmental Reserve Company)
Verlinde – 2nd Guard Lancers 1815 or Trooper Lancer 2nd Chevau-legers-Lanciers de la Garde Imperiale
Schmitt – 2nd Jaeger Rgt zu Pfd 1813 - 14 – (2nd Jaeger zu Pferde or 2nd Chasseurs ‘a’ cheval)
Maire – 7th Hussars 1809 – 15 (actually Marechal des Logis – Sergeant)
Mauban 8th Dragoon Regiment 1815 – More correctly Trumpeter Mauban 13th Dragoons (1st Empire) and 8th Dragoons (1st and 2nd Restorations)
Taria - Sergeant, Grenadier de la Garde Imperiale 1809 – 1815 (Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard)
Loria – 24th Jaeger zu Pferd 1800 – 1815 (24th Chasseurs a cheval or 24th Mounted Chasseurs) Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour)

These remarkable photographs provide probably the only surviving images of veterans of the Grande Armée and the Guard actually wearing their original uniforms and insignia, although some of the uniforms have obviously been recut by tailors of the 1850's. Each is a formal portrait of an individual gentleman photographed in a studio. Some of the men stand in front of a blank or paneled wall on an elaborately decorated carpet, while others are seated. One old veteran who appears to have lost his right eye, Monsieur Loria of the 24th Mounted Chasseur Regiment and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, stands against a piece of furniture that appears also in other portraits by a curtain. It is not known who the photographer was and the blurring on one or two suggests the difficulty aging subjects had in standing still for several seconds while the plates were exposed.

A tall soldier striking an elegant pose and wearing the grenadier bearskin is Sergeant Taria in the uniform of the Grenadiere de la Garde of 1809-1815. The Mameluke de la Garde is Monsieur Ducel who fought between 1813 and 1815. The dashing figure holding a plumed shako in his right hand is M. Dreuse of the 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard, circa 1813-14. There is Monsieur Mauban of the 8th Dragoon Regiment of 1815 seated and M. Maire of the 7th Hussars circa 1809-15. Wearing a fine shapka is M. Verlinde of the 2nd Lancers, 1815, and seated in a grand hussar uniform is Monsieur Moret of the 2nd Regiment, 1814/15. Monsieur Vitry of the Departmental Guard leans against a piece of furniture by a curtain, while M. Dupont who was fourier for the 1st Hussar, stands with a Mameluke sword.

There is the portly Quartermaster Sergeant Delignon in the uniform of a Mounted Chasseur of the Guard, 1809-1815. Completing the series are Monsieur Schmit of the 2nd Mounted Chasseur Regiment (1813-14) wearing a floppy cap, and finally Grenadier Burg of the 24th Regiment of the Guard of 1815 with his white beard. A carte-de-visite does exist of Moret in a slightly different position than the studio photo.

When and why these men were photographed is a mystery but some clues are offered in Henri Bouchot's book L'Epopée du Costume Militaire Franç ais published in Paris in 1898, and containing pictures by the famous French military illustrator, Job. There is a color plate with a transparent overlay bearing the titled 'Les Vieux de la vieille, Le 5 Mai, 1855'. This depicts ten Napoleonic veterans in their full uniforms passing the column in the center of the Place Vendô me erected by Napoleon to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz. A Second Empire zouave of the current French army looks at the hunched and slow moving procession. Most significantly is the fact that two of the veterans are carrying wreaths. If one compares the individuals in the photographs, they match up very well with the figures crossing the square.

The date of the event - May 5, - provides the reason why these men were in Paris for that was the anniversary of the death of Napoleon and every year on that date veterans gathered in the capital, as the Times of London in May 1855 noted: 'The base and railings of the column of the Place Vendô me appear this day decked out with the annual offerings to the memory of the man whose statue adorns the summit. The display of garlands of immortelles, and other tributes of the kind, is greater than usual...the old soldiers of the Empire performed their usual homage yesterday at the same place.' On the same day, a funeral service was held in the chapel of the Invalides attended by Prince Jerome and other dignitaries. The entire personnel of the Invalides as well as soldiers of the First Empire were present.

A more likely date however, is May 5, 1858, because all the veterans are wearing the Saint Helene medal which had been issued on August 12, 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the Revolution and the Empire. 


Source and courtesy of Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. Special thanks to Professor Charles J. Esdaile, Henry Volquardsen, Josh Provan, Laurent Wiart and Matthew Sage.

Faces of Auschwitz: Salomon Honig

SALOMON HONIG, a Polish Jew, was born on 15 May 1889 to Ryfka Honig in the village of Kołaczyce near Jasło. At the time, Jasło was considered to be a part of Poland, under the Austro-Hungarian Partition.  At the time of his arrest Salomon Honig was living at Folwarcznastrasse 11 in Tarnów, Poland. He worked as a merchant. There are no known records that detail the circumstances of his arrest.

The metal device visible in the left picture was part of a spinning chair. It held the head in the correct position during the photographing. 

Salomon was deported to the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp on 5 March 1942. He was part of a group of 27 inmates sent from the prison in Tarnów to Auschwitz by the order of the Sicherheitsdienst.  During his registration at the camp, Solomon was issued prisoner number 26389. 

Honig was deported to Auschwitz before the beginning of mass extermination of Jews in gas chambers as part of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question” - the extermination of European Jews planned by Nazi Germany. Between June 1940 and March 1942, around 2,000–2,100 Jews were taken to the camp, of which number nearly 90% were killed. The Auschwitz Memorial Archives preserves 38,916 photos of registered prisoners (31,969 photos of men & 6,947 photos of women). The photographs were taken from the first quarter of 1941 until spring 1943. This means that the photographs that exist today show less than 10 percent of all registered prisoners of Auschwitz (approximately 400 thousand people). 

In this project, we will show both some of the prisoners whose stories are well known and documented but also people about whom we know very little or nothing. 

• Learn more about the story of Jewish prisoners of the camp in this online lesson provided by the Auschwitz Memorial.

 A page from the daily record books with names of prisoners who died on 18 March 1942 - Salomon Honig is listed second from the bottom.

A page from the daily record books with names of prisoners who died on 18 March 1942 - Salomon Honig is listed second from the bottom.

Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Collaborator: Seamus Bellamy.

Faces of Auschwitz signs sponsorship deal with the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund

When I decided to create "Faces of Auschwitz", my ultimate goal was clear: I did not want the impact of this project to be limited by digital barriers. The central aim has always been to reach as many people as possible, taking the important lessons left by the Holocaust to all who want to learn more about them. It was as if everything was aligned so that I could meet Michael Frank, a New York entrepreneur as passionate by the idea of the project as I am. Michael and I jumped into a phone call, and we soon realized that we share the same vision and are equally excited about the opportunity to contribute in some way to creating a better world. The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund is now the official sponsor of the project and will be making monetary and non-monetary contributions so that we can make the impact of this project resonate beyond any limits. From now on, we can set more ambitious goals and invest in major activities, such as touring exhibitions, books, talks, educational events in general, and others. The investment will be aimed at expanding the reach of the project and creating a solid foundation that will enable us to talk with more and more people through a variety of plataforms. I am delighted, honored by the generosity and opportunity to work with Michael, and hopeful that we will take the stories - and faces - of the victims far beyond the digital world. -Marina Amaral, founder.  

The Foundation

The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund was recently established in 2018. Its mission is to find unique and creative “start-up” projects that have the capability to impact a large audience in a positive way.

The Foundation’s founder, Michael Frank, grew up in Long Island, New York. An entrepreneur at heart, he began his first business at age 11 shoveling driveways during snow storms. At a young age, he can remember feeling soulfully connected to the events of the Holocaust and it having a profound effect on him. He attended the University of Michigan where he continued with his innate entrepreneurial endeavors opening a handful of businesses geared toward college students. Between his junior and senior year, he spent a summer as a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Defense Force, an experience that would continue to strengthen his connection to the events of the Holocaust and to Israel and lay the groundwork for his dedication of wanting to make the world a better place.

After his University studies, Michael moved to New York City and began working in advertising where he would later open his own advertising agency. He ran a decade-long business in New York City event’s promotion and in 2006 began his building and development business. Today, his highly successful residential real estate development business focuses on building luxury homes in the Hamptons.

Michael is a Board Member of the Long Island Hearing and Speech Society, a Trustee at The Jewish Center of the Hamptons, and a former Board Member of AISH New York. In 2013, he created the “Survivor-Soldier project that focused on the experience of Holocaust survivors on the modern day Israeli soldier. Across 4 venues in the United States, a large audience got to hear a Holocaust Survivor’s miraculous story while hearing from soldiers the effects it has on their morale and actions in the military today.

In March of 2018, while reading a local New York newspaper, Michael and his wife Giulia came across Marina Amaral’s colorization photo of Auschwitz prisoner Czeslawa Kwoka. “We were so moved by it. The color gave the young victim life, it gave her a story. We knew instantly we had to get involved with this.” Michael connected with Marina and saw right away that “here was not only an incredibly talented artist but a bright, creative, soulful person way beyond her years.” They shared a similar vision – how do we tell more stories like that of Czeslawa Kwoka? The timing was perfect as Marina had just gotten permission from the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum to work on more photos like this. The Auschwitz Memorial will also provide access to different documents about the prisoners as well as help in writing and developing the historically accurate content of this project.

The project, “Faces of Auschwitz” aims to colorize black and white Auschwitz victims’ photos while telling their stories, to the best we can find. The Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund is proud, humbled and excited to be the sponsor.

Michael resides in New York City. He celebrated this year his marriage to his wife Giulia. They both share a goal to expand their family foundation to new and meaningful causes and are both committed to Marina and the “Faces of Auschwitz” project and are determined to try and expose these photos and stories to the largest audience possible.

Faces of Auschwitz: Janina Nowak


In 2016, I colorized Czesława Kwoka’s photo and posted it on social media. She was just 14 when she was murdered behind the walls of Auschwitz concentration camp on 12 March, 1943. Her photo is haunting. Staring straight into the camera, her eyes tell a story of fear and horrors that few of us, in modern times, can understand or relate to. The expression on her face has never left me since the first time I saw her.

However, Czesława was not the only one to be murdered by Auschwitz’s butchers. 1.3 million others were brutalized, starved and killed within the camp’s walls. Monsterous hatred was leveled against them for nothing more than their being who they were: Jews, Poles, Sini & Roma or Soviet POWs; Christians, Protestants, Orthodox or Jehovah Witnesses; disabled people or homosexuals. We must remember them for who they were.

FACES OF AUSCHWITZ aims to recover these stories and present them to the world through a modern perspective, so that current and future generations will be able to look back at those we lost, understand the roots of hate and ensure that the atrocities of the past will never happen again. This project is supported by the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum. 

JANINA NOWAK was a Polish woman born on August 19, 1917, in Będów near Łódź. She was deported to the German Nazi Auschwitz camp on June 12, 1942 and received the prisoner number 7615 during registration. Janina was the first female prisoner who escaped from Auschwitz.


On June 24, 1942 Janina escaped from a work party, known as a Kommando, consisting of 200 Polish women working near the Soła river, drying hay. After she was reported missing, the soldiers of the Nazi SS unsuccessfully attempted to chase her down. Exasperated by the loss of their prisoner, the SS led the remaining female prisoners from the Nowak's Kommando back to the camp. The camp's political officers interrogated the other members of the Kommando over the details of her escape. The women, for their part, provided their captors with no answers. As the camp's officers were unable to punish Nowak for gaining her freedom, their anger was laid upon her fellows, instead. That evening, as a punishment, the women of the Nowak's Kommando were all forced to have their hair cropped short (before this only Jewish female prisoners had their hair cut in the camp).

The following next day, the entire Kommando was re-designated a penal company and sent to one of Auschwitz's sub-camps, called Budy, located roughly 6 km from the main camp. The accommodations at Budy consisted of a former school building, a ramshackle wooden barracks, a small kitchen and latrines, all of which were surrounded by barbed wire.  The women of the penal company were forced to toil in extremely harsh conditions cleaning nearby ponds, cutting bulrushes and digging drainage ditches--all of which was undertaken as part of a German scheme to turn Auschwitz into a centre for agricultural research.

A few days later, Nowak's former Kommando was joined at Budy by a cadre of 200 female prisoners consisting of French Jews and Slovakian nationals. The penal company was surprised by a group of German kapos*, who brutalized their charges in the name of meeting the production targets set by their German SS camp supervisors.

After escaping Auschwitz, Janina Nowak managed to reach Łódz. She evaded the authorities until March 1943 when she was arrested. On 8 May 1943, Nowak was brought to Auschwitz once again, where she received a new prisoner number - 31529. In 1943, she was transferred to KL Ravensbrück where she was liberated at the end of April 1945.

  • Janina was one of 50 women who tried to escape from the Auschwitz camp..
    Learn more about escapes from this online lesson.
  • All together ca. 131 thousand women became prisoners of the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp: 82 thousand Jewish, 31 thousand Polish, 11 thousand Roma as well as Russian, Belorussian, German, French, Czech, Yugoslavian & others.


A kapo, one of many kinds of prisoner functionary (German: Funktionshäftling) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labor. Other functionaries like block masters, room masters, clerks & others carried out different administrative tasks or supervised prisoners inside the blocks. The prisoner functionary system minimized costs by allowing camps to function with fewer SS personnel. The system was designed to turn victim against victim, as the prisoner functionaries were pitted against their fellow prisoners in order to maintain the favor of their SS overseers. If they were derelict, they could be returned to the status of ordinary prisoners and be subject to other kapos. Many prisoner functionaries were recruited from the ranks of violent criminal gangs rather than from the more numerous political, religious, and racial prisoners; such criminal convicts were known for their brutality toward other prisoners. This brutality was tolerated by the SS and was an integral part of the camp system. Prisoner functionaries were spared physical abuse and hard labor, provided they performed their duties to the satisfaction of the SS functionaries. They also had access to certain privileges, such as civilian clothes and a private room. While the Germans commonly called them kapos, the official government term for prisoner functionaries was Funktionshäftling. While at the beginning in Auschwitz most functionaries were German criminals, later SS started using members of different groups of prisoners. While many of the functionaries were indeed brutal, some tried not to harm others and only pretend violence when SS guards watched them, and in many cases political prisoners tried to take over some of the positions because they were able to use them to help other prisoners. Some functionaries were members of resistance movement. .
 Telegram dated March 12 1943 informing about Janina's arrest.

Telegram dated March 12 1943 informing about Janina's arrest.




Contributors: Auschwitz Memorial and Museum; Seamus Bellamy;
Please do not reproduce the photos without proper attribution and context.

Pre-order now: The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960

The Colour of Time spans more than a hundred years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry and the arts, the tragedies of war and the politics of peace, and the lives of men and women who made history.

The book is a collaboration between me and a leading British historian, Dan Jones. 200 stunning images were created for the book, using contemporary photographs as the basis for my full-colour digital renditions. Dan Jones has written a narrative that anchors each image in its context, and weaves them into a vivid account of the world that made the world we live in today.




A fusion of amazing pictures and well-chosen words, The Colour of Time offers a unique – and often beautiful – perspective on the past.

Opening of the exhibition - German Football Museum

Some photos of the opening of the special exhibition "FUSSBALL BILD MACHT FUSSBALL-GESCHICHTE LEBENDIG" (FUSSBALL BILD Brings Football History to Life). 10 historically important moments of German football history exhibited in color for the first time. The event took place in Dortmund, at the German Football Museum last weekend (11-04-2017). Special guests: Hans-Joachim Watzke (CEO of Borussia Dortmund) and Klaus Fischer (German former footballer and coach). The photos will be on display at the German Football Museum in Dortmund until 31.12 - go check them out! Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1, 44137 Dortmund

This project is a collaboration between me and FUSSBALL BILD. Thanks for our partnership in another great project!

Titanic prepares to leave port, 1912

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912, after it collided with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard the ship, and more than 1,500 died, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time it entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. The Titanic was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, her architect, died in the disaster.

Titanic was under the command of Edward Smith, who also went down with the ship. The ocean liner carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe who were seeking a new life in the United States. The first-class accommodation was designed to be the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. A high-powered radiotelegraph transmitter was available for sending passenger "marconigrams" and for the ship's operational use. Although Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard, due to outdated maritime safety regulations. Titanic only carried enough lifeboats for 1,178 people—slightly more than half of the number on board, and one third of her total capacity.

After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading west to New York. On 14 April, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship's time. The collision caused the ship's hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard (right) side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea; she could only survive four flooding. Meanwhile, passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partially loaded. A disproportionate number of men were left aboard because of a "women and children first" protocol for loading lifeboats. At 2:20 a.m., she broke apart and foundered—with well over one thousand people still aboard. Just under two hours after the Titanic sank, the Cunard liner RMS Carpathia arrived at the scene, where she brought aboard an estimated 705 survivors.

The disaster was met with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that had led to it. Public inquiries in Britain and the United States led to major improvements in maritime safety. One of their most important legacies was the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today. Additionally, several new wireless regulations were passed around the world in an effort to learn from the many missteps in wireless communications—which could have saved many more passengers.

The wreck of Titanic was first discovered in 1985 (more than 70 years after the disaster), and the vessel remains on the seabed. The ship was split in two and is gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Since her discovery in 1985, thousands of artefacts have been recovered and put on display at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history; her memory is kept alive by numerous works of popular culture, including books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials. Titanic is the second largest ocean liner wreck in the world, only beaten by her sister HMHS Britannic, the largest ever sunk.