Photos of the Horrors Discovered During the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps

The Holocaust was a genocide committed during World War II in which Nazi Germany systematically murdered roughly six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. From 1941 to 1945, Germany targeted European Jewish people as well as other groups including the Sinti and Roma, ethnic Poles and Slavs, prisoners of war, homosexuals, Jehova’s Witnesses, black people and political opponents for extermination. The Nazis ran egregious medical experiments, tortured, starved, forced labor, and wantonly murdered the imprisoned.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calculates at least 220,000 Romani were murdered.

Between 1.8 and 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish citizens perished at German hands during the course of the war, about four-fifths of whom were ethnic Poles with the rest ethnic Ukrainians and Belarusians

Around 50,000 German gay men were jailed between 1933 and 1945, and 5,000–15,000 are estimated to have been sent to concentration camps.

A British doctor administering delousing treatment of DDT up the skirt of an embarrassed-looking female prisoner at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945. Time
A British doctor uses DDT while delousing newly freed female prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945. Time
A group of women at the liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony during World War II, 1945. Time
A skeletal-looking prisoner stands in front of one of the concentration camp buildings. Ohrdruf concentration camp in Germany was the first that the Americans found. Daily Mail
A U.S. general inspects the gallows at Ohrdruf concentration camp. Daily Mail
Annaliese Kohlmann, former Nazi female guard noted for her cruelty, Bergen Belsen-1945. Time
Dying women huddle on the ground behind the barbed-wire enclosure at Bergen-Belsen, 1945. Time
General Eisenhower, later President Eisenhower, tours the Ohrdruf concentration camp shortly after its liberation by U.S. forces. Daily Mail
Ohrdruf concentration camp was part of the Buchenwald network of camps. In this picture taken on April 16, 1945, inmates of the German KZ Buchenwald camp near Weimar are seen inside their barracks, a few days after liberation. Daily Mail
A Czech doctor (right) prepares to examine a Buchenwald concentration camp inmate while other inmates surround him, awaiting treatment, April 1945. Time
A malnourished Buchenwald prisoner leans against his bunk after trying to walk. Like other imprisoned slave laborers, he worked in a Nazi factory until he was too feeble. Time
A newly liberated prisoner stands beside a pile of human ash and bones, Buchenwald, April 1945. Time
American soldiers stand at the gates of the Dachau concentration camp after its liberation. Inmates were immediately given medical attention. fcit
As Nazi officers and Weimar civilians bear witness, after Buchenwald’s liberation, to atrocities committed at the camp, a dummy in striped prisoner garb hangs from a gallows during a demonstration of one of the many ways that inmates were murdered. Time
Examining a Buchenwald prisoner after the camp’s liberation by U.S. troops, April 1945. Time
Female prisoners in the newly liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945. Time
German civilians are forced to bear witness to Nazi atrocities at Buchenwald concentration camp, April 1945. Time
New internees of the freshly liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp included this pair of French brothers, Charles and Louis Perret, wearing white boots they took from the Nazis, 1945. Time
Newly liberated prisoners wait in line for food at the Bergen-Belsen, 1945. Time
Prisoners at Buchenwald display their identification tattoos shortly after the camp’s liberation by Allied forces, April 1945. Time
Prisoners at Buchenwald during the camp’s liberation by American forces, April 1945. Time
Prisoners at Buchenwald gaze from behind barbed wire during the camp’s liberation by American forces, April 1945. Time
Survivors gaze at photographer Margaret Bourke-White and rescuers from the United States Third Army during the liberation of Buchenwald, April 1945. Time
Survivors eagerly pull down the Nazi eagle over the entrance to Mauthausen concentration camp. National Archives, USHMM
In the women’s camp at Mauthausen, survivors queue up for soup. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Survivors in a crowded Dachau barracks after liberation. Francis Robert Arzt Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Survivors in Dachau distribute bread to their comrades after liberation. Frank Manucci Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Emaciated Jewish survivors, who had been confined to the infirmary barracks at Ebensee, are gathered outside on the day after liberation. The survivor at center-left holding his metal name tag is Joachim Friedner, a twenty-one-year-old Polish Jew from Krakow. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
American chaplain Rabbi Hershel Schacter conducts Jewish holiday services for Buchenwald survivors shortly after liberation. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Sick survivors are evacuated from the Woebbeling concentration camp to an American field hospital where they will receive medical attention. Arnold Bauer Barach Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Three Ebensee survivors, too weak to eat solid food, suck on sugar cubes to give them strength. Dr. Robert G. Waite Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
An Austrian-Jewish survivor, who had been arrested by the Nazis in Holland, points out mass graves to U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Omar Bradley, during their inspection of the camp. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.
A United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration worker is calling off names as this six-year-old orphan waits for his name. He is in a group of 350 orphans scheduled for departure to Switzerland. The children, five to eighteen years old, are all orphans of the war. Some of them have been at the Buchenwald camp for as long as six years. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
A group of survivors in Buchenwald at liberation. The man in the middle has lifted his trousers to show the effects of malnutrition to the photographer. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
American medical personnel at work in a typhus ward in a hospital for survivors. USHMM Photo Archives
Survivors of Bergen-Belsen walk along the main street of the camp, past a pile of victims’ shoes. USHMM
Survivors mill around the former roll call area in the Ebensee concentration camp. The snow-capped peaks of the Alps Mountains loom in the distance. Austrian National Archives
Women survivors in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp peel potatoes on April 28, 1945. National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Children are seen just after the liberation by the Soviets. About 7,000 prisoners were in the camp when the Red Army arrived. Those left behind were too sick and weak to move when the Nazi SS officers forced nearly 60,000 prisoners to march west as the Soviets advanced. CNN
Ivan Dudnik, a 15-year-old Russian, is rescued. The teen was described as insane from the treatment at Auschwitz. CNN
Liberated inmates of Auschwitz speak with Soviet soldiers who liberated them. CNN
Survivors of Auschwitz stand behind a barbed wire fence. Some of the children are wearing clothing given to them by the Soviets. CNN