On the day American forces liberated the Dora-Mittlebau concentration camp in Germany, a young prisoner named Lili Jacob—ill with typhus and searching for some warm clothes—came upon a photo album hidden in an SS barracks cupboard. When she opened the album, she discovered pictures depicting the arrival of a transport of Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz. To Lili's horror and amazement, images of her family, friends and herself were included in the album.
Lili had been a prisoner at Auschwitz from May to December of 1944 and was eventually transferred to the Dora-Mittlebau concentration camp in 1945. These powerful images, taken by Nazi SS officers in May 1944, are the only visual evidence of what took place inside this infamous death camp.
Lili immigrated to the United States. In 1980, Lili donated the album to Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel. Nearly 50 photographs have been reassembled, restored and duplicated for the exhibition The Auschwitz Album: The Story of a Transport a former display at The Field Museum in Chicago. Created in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in German-occupied Poland, this exhibition presents images documenting the arrival, imprisonment and preparation for death of some of the 3,500 Hungarian Jews inside Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Auschwitz Album: The Story of a Transport was created by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel. The Field Museum's presentation was made possible by the American Society for Yad Vashem. Generous support was provided by the Crown family.
Published on January 16, 2006