A Group of New Arrivals

Arrival into the Auschwitz camp. Just behind the prisoner’s backs and to their left is the guard tower at the main entrance to the camp. Barely discernable are the words at the entrance gate: Arbiet Macht Frei: Work Makes Free. This cynical slogan was posted at the entrance of many of the camps. If the gas chamber, or shooting wall didn’t kill one, the labor was very likely to do so. From the moment of entry, there was a calculated process of dehumanization; the surest way to control prisoners. People in this state do not rebel. It also was a way to reinforce the Nazi belief that these prisoners were inferior human beings, or, in the case of the Jews and Gypsies, not human at all, but vermin. Here we see SS guards and officers, armed with pistols and clubs screaming at the new arrivals, or standing aside in attitudes of power and superiority.

Pen and Ink: Wladyslaw Siwek
Reproduction courtesy of Auschwitz Museum Archive, 1980