50 Haunting Paintings and Drawings by the Prisoners of Auschwitz

Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated in the annexed Polish land during World War II. Auschwitz I was first constructed to hold Polish political prisoners who first arrived in May, 1940.

Plans for the total eradication of the Jewish population of Europe, eleven million people, were formalized at the Wannasse Conference on January 20, 1942. Initially the victims were killed by the Einsatzgruppen death squads but this method proved to be impractical for such large scale murder.

The first extermination took place in September, 1941 and Auschwitz II—Birkenau became a major extermination site for Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet POWs. By the summer of 1944, the capacity of the crematoria and outdoor incineration pits for disposing the murdered bodies, was 20,000 per day.

Despite the thick concrete walls, screaming and crying could be heard from outside the gas chambers. In one failed attempt to muffle the noise, two motorcycle engines were revved up to full throttle outside the chambers. The cries could still be heard over the engines.

The prisoners’ day began at 4:30 in the morning with roll call, which lasted for hours. Even those who had died in the night had to be present at roll call, standing supported by fellow inmates until attendance had been recorded.

Kommando, work details, would then go to their respective places of work. A prisoner’s orchestra was forced to play cheerful music as the workers left the camp. The work day lasted 12 hours during the summer and a little bit less in the winter. Inmates often worked at construction sites, gravel pits, and lumber yards. They received no breaks.

On Sundays, the inmates did not work. They were required to clean the barracks and take their weekly shower. 800-1000 people were crammed into a single barrack. The camps were infested with disease-carrying lice. Typhus and other diseases and bacterial infections were rampant and took the lives of many.

Prisoners received a hot drink in the morning, but no breakfast, a thin, meatless vegetable soup for lunch, and a small ration of bread in the evening. The daily caloric intake did not exceed 700 calories.

In the evenings there was a second roll call. If a prisoner was missing, the others were forced to remain standing in place until they were found or the reason for their absence was discovered.

An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz. At least 1.1 million inmates were murdered, 90% of whom were Jewish.

Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Man at a piano. Etching, paper, 19,5 x 14 cm, KL Auschwitz 1944. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Etching, cardboard, 17 x 11 cm, KL Auschwitz 1943. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
inside of a male barrack in Birkenau
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, Indian ink, paper, 70 x 100 c, Warsaw1972. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Death of Hunger
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, black ink, paper, 53 x 40 cm, Poland 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Return from Work from the cycle “Day of a prisoner”
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, black ink, paper, 66 x 82 cm, Poland 1950. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Through Work to Freedom
Author: Jan Baraś-Komski
Small feather, Indian ink, paper, 20 x 16 cm, Germany 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Shh – Silence from the cycle “Flowers of Auschwitz”
Author: Zinowij Tołkaczew
Small feather, Indian ink, cardboard, 30,5 x 22 cm, Poland 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Flowers in the snow from the cycle “Flowers of Auschwitz”
Author: Zinowij Tołkaczew
Small feather, Indian ink, cardboard, 30,5 x 22 cm, Poland 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
A portrait of Ludwik Chrobok
Author: Jacques Markiel
Pencil, cardboard, 14,5 x 10,5 cm, KL Jawischowitz 1944. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Father and son
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, Indian ink, cardboard, 25,5 x 14 cm, KL Melk 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Prisoners
Author: Walter Spitzer
Paint, paper, 30 x 15,5 cm, France around 1960. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Prisoners room
Author: Walter Spitzer
Paint, paper, 24,5 x 24 cm, France around 1960. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Work – sorting out shoes from the cycle “Day of a female prisoner”
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, black ink, paper, 81 x 65 cm, Poland 1950. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Prayer
Author: Zofia Stępień
Pencil, crayons, paper, 14 x 8,8 cm, KL Auschwitz 1943. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Patent no 67353
Author: Zinowij Tołkaczew
Small feather, Indian ink, cartboard, 30,5 x 22 cm, Oświęcim 1945. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Dividing families
Author: Author unknown
Pencil, crayons, paper, 13,5 x 19,5 cm, KL Auschwitz 1942-44. Z Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Transport arriving at the unloading ramp
Author: Author unknown
Pencil, crayons, paper, 13,5 x 19,5 cm, KL Auschwitz 1942-44. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
To Gas
Author: Author unknown
Pencil, paper, 13,5 x 19,5 cm, KL Auschwitz 1942-44. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Mortuary
Author: Jerzy Adam Brandhuber
Charcoal, paper, 51 x 70 cm, Oświęcim 1949. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Work at a roller
Author: Franciszek Wieczorkowski
Pencil, paper, 21 x 27 cm, KL Auschwitz 1942. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Wheel-barrows from the cycle I “Oświęcim”
Author: Jerzy Adam Brandhuber
Charcoal, paper, 54 x 36 cm, Oświęcim 1946. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Done In
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Black ink, paper, 32,5 x 24 cm, KL Auschwitz 1942. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Friendly Favor
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Brown crayon, paper, 21 x 29,5 cm, KL Auschwitz 1943. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
Mother with her murdered child
Author: Mieczysław Kościelniak
Small feather, black ink, paper, 55 x 41 cm, Poland 1946. Collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
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  • usc440

    the jews still havent apologized yet…………..for making the germans look bad for last 60 years

    • Andrea Cordova

      And why should they apologize. The Germans were In the wrong here

  • Windell Cotton

    It was horrible what the Nazi’s did. Now the Jews in Iarael have committed crimes against the native population there.