During one of the most destructive wars the world has ever witnessed, the persecution of the Jewish people reached a new vile level of callousness. World War II saw the Nazis invade and turn masses of land into concentration camps where they detained, tortured and murdered Jews as part of "The Final Solution."
This week marked seventy-five years since the Soviet army stormed and liberated one of the biggest concentration camps in Poland: Auschwitz. And in order to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, an artist took it upon himself to add color to some of the most haunting photographs from the dreaded time in order to bring new life to them.
We will never forget.
Keep reading to catch a glimpse of the victims of Auschwitz in color, but I must warn you, these stories are difficult to read.
During World War II, our world witnessed a huge mass-murder.
via: Getty ImagesAround 6 million Jewish people were mercilessly killed during the 1930s and 40s when Nazi Germany invaded many parts of Europe.
Nazi Germany was under a fierce dictatorship...
via: ShutterstockUnder the German regime, anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler believed Jews were an inferior race - an alien threat to the purity of the German race - and he spread this message across his nation, eventually seeping it into the rest of Eastern Europe.
Hitler eventually reached, what was known as "The Final Solution."
via: ShutterstockAfter years of Nazi rule in Germany, during which the Jews were consistently persecuted, Hitler’s “Final Solution"- now known as the Holocaust - came to be as war infected almost every single country on the globe. While people were busy fighting against the regime, they failed to realize what was happening to the Jewish community.
The Nazis opened many concentration camps across Europe.
via: ShutterstockEach of the 23 main camps had subcamps, totaling to 900. These included camps with euphemistic names, such as “care facilities for foreign children," or "education centers."
Auschwitz was one of the biggest camps...
via: Getty ImagesLocated in Krakow, Poland, Auschwitz was established in 1940 and it was transformed into an extermination camp 2 years later. Here, prisoners were tortured, mutilated, and eventually murdered.
Auschwitz became the place of one of the biggest mass murders in human history.
via: TwitterPrecise numbers are still debated, but according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German SS systematically killed at least 960,000 of the 1.1-1.3 million Jews deported to the camp.
These statistics don't include the murders of Jews in other camps.
via: TwitterOn January 27th 1945, Soviet soldiers entered the gates of Auschwitz thus putting an end to the merciless murders of innocent Jewish people.
In order to commemorate the liberation, an artist added color to photos from the camp.
via: Getty ImagesSeventy-five years after the horrific events that unfolded at Auschwitz, we honor the victims by remembering their resilience and their strength during such a tragedy.
Artists at FacesOfAuschwitz showed us a realistic portrayal of some of the prisoners.
via: Getty ImagesAnd all of them include a story of their lives while detained in the camp. Please remember them as you read through these heartbreaking stories.
1. Józefa Głazowska
"She was deported to Auschwitz in a transport of 318 women and children."
via: Getty Images"[She] arrived at the camp in the same transport as Czesława Kwoka. Józefa was a child victim of Aktion Zamość. On December 13th, 1932, 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)."
Both her parents were murdered in a gas chamber.
via: Getty Images"Like many children during the Holocaust, Józefa became an orphan. 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."
However, she managed to survive the ordeal.
via: Getty Images"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 freedom."
2. Vinzent Daniel.
"In the camp, he received number 33804."
via: Getty Images"[He] 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 27th, he escaped from his workplace.
via: Getty Images"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."
3. Gersz Zysking.
"His time in the concentration camp was brief."
via: Getty Images"...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."
via: Getty Images"His eyes tell a story of a young man simultaneously terrified and numb. The Wehrmacht captured the city 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."
4. Iwan Rebałka.
"Iwan and 56 other individuals were deported to the concentration camp on August 20, 1942."
via: Getty Images"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."
"Sadly, Iwan was not among those rescued."
via: Getty Images"He 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)."
5. Deliana Rademakers.
"Deliana was registered on 20 November 1942 as prisoner 25563."
via: Getty Images"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... saying, "go bravely onwards without fear, Jehovah is with us, what can (mere) people do to us?"
"Deliana died in Auschwitz on 10 December 1942."
via: Getty Images"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."
6. Witold Pilecki
"Pilecki’s reports informed the Western Allies of the atrocities being committed at the death camp."
via: Getty Images"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."
"While working at the camp’s bakery, Pilecki [and two others], made their escape during the night of 26/27 April 1943."
via: Getty Images"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 established contact with the regional Headquarters of the Home Army."
Things didn't end well for Pilecki.
via: Getty Images"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." However, the camp was later liberated. But Pilecki was arrested by a different Polish faction and shot in the back of the head for multiple charges including espionage.
7. Salomon Honig.
"There are no known records that detail the circumstances of his arrest."
via: Getty Images"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."
He was deported there before "The Final Solution."
via: Getty ImagesAccording to Nazi records that were recovered, Honig was murdered on 18th March 1942.
8. Katarzyna Kwoka.
9. Seweryna Szmaglewska.
She joined a student resistance organization that ran an underground library of Polish literature.
via: Getty Images"Immediately after escaping from an evacuation transport near Wodzisław Śląski on January 18, 1945, she began to write her memoirs which became one of the first – if not the first – personal books about the experience of Auschwitz, an eloquent and important analysis of the individual experience of modern war. In her book, she writes about her personal story, but also tries to depict the universe of the camp – the cruelty of the SS, torture of slave labor and long roll-calls, people on their way to gas chambers, constant humiliation as well as the attempts of saving the human spirit in the world in which there seems to be no future."
She died in 1992.
via: Getty Images"Since 1945, Smoke over Birkenau has been reprinted frequently and widely translated. Critics and three generations of readers praised it for truthfulness, accuracy, and lasting literary merit: as memories of war-time genocide fade with the passage of time, Szmaglewska’s readers are able to stay in touch with extremes of experience which must never be forgotten."
10. Czesława Kwoka.
"Czesława and her mother, Katarzyna, were Roman Catholics: a group reviled by the Nazi Party."
via: Getty Images"The Nazis refused to tolerate any group or social gathering that was not controlled or thoroughly infiltrated by their governance. Catholics, under the sway of the Pope and their local clergy, were suspect: it was not possible, according to Nazi dogma, to give allegiance to both the Church and the Fatherland."
"They declared the Jewish people to be the root of all of Germany’s social and economic problems."
via: Getty Images"In Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, many Catholic clergymen and nuns were persecuted and sent to concentration camps. Similarly, many followers of Catholicism were arrested as political prisoners suspected of serving the interest of the Roman Catholic Church." Kwoka's fate is unknown but she has most likely that she was murdered.
We will never forget.
via: Getty ImagesAs the great George Santayana once said: "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."