Objects from the collections of the Auschwitz - Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim
photography by Tamara Leigh
The Nazis slaughtered them in anonymity. However, the poignant evidence of millions of lives lost resides in perpetuity in our Museum.
Gazing at these evocative reminders of humanity senselessly and barbarically destroyed reminds Museum visitors that the power of truth lives forever.
In a small valley nestled near the Tatra mountains and Sola river in the southern part of modern-day Poland, the Nazis crafted a gruesome place of suffering, cruelty, and death. Auschwitz, established to imprison and exploit Polish prisoners shortly after Operation Tannenberg in 1939, transformed during the Holocaust to become the necropolis of millions of people who were brutally murdered. The function of this gruesome place was to systematically murder large groups of people (including Jews and Roma) and sadistically dehumanize those who were selected to be killed through forced labor.
In total, at least 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz; approximately 1.1 million of them died there, including nearly 1 million Jews. When liberated, the camp was filled with valuable objects, everyday items, and cultural artifacts that were brought to the camp by the victims. Holocaust Museum LA is honored to be one of the few U.S. institutions to have on exhibition a selection of these artifacts, on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, established at the site of the camp after liberation.