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Most of use use our cameras to photograph the more joyous and memorable moments of life.
We shoot pictures of birthdays,holidays,family,friends,
This is a German made Foth camera that recorded something very different.
The Foth Co.produced cameras in Berlin from 1923 until the start of WW-2.
I don't know the complete history of this camera but it would be reasonable to assume it belonged at one time to an American soldier of the 11th Armoured Division.
In May 1945 the 11th liberated one of the most brutal camps of the Nazi concentration camp system.
Located 20 miles east of Linz Austria Mauthausen was not a single camp but a system of 49 permanent and 10 more short lived camps.
Mauthausen was a death sentence for most inmates.
It was what's know as a catagory 3 camp meaning
"Return is not desired" and
"Extermination through work"
Spanish Republicans deported from France by the Vichy govt and Soviet Army officers were the majority of the prison population.
A Google search will tell you all you can stand to know about Mauthausen.
You can also read the confession of the camp commander who was shot and seriously wounded by American soldiers while trying to escape dressed as a civilian.
When I acquired the Foth for my collection I had no idea that about 30 of the most graphic,brutal photographs of WW-2 were in the package the camera came in.
If you care to enlarge this photo you'll probably be able to read the handwritten caption at the bottom.
I'll warn you that it's graphic but nothing compared to the photo on the other side.
Most of the pictures are marked censored due to their violent and graphic content.
Since I have no idea who the original photographer was I plan to contact the Holocaust Museum or the Simon Wiesenthal Center to see if they would like to have these photographs as part of the historical record of WW-2
It's hard to believe but there are some who deny these terrible events happened.
But pictures don't lie and while they are ugly,inhumane and graphic it's important that the record be preserved.
Mauthausen Gusen granite quarry alone claimed the lives of 150,000 men.
This is a know number with the victims accounted for.
What is not known is how many people perished in the gas chamber or from disease and starvation or exposure as many were housed outdoors year round.
There are reports of those to sick and weak to work being loaded on trucks and taken to the forest where they were simply dropped off and left to die.
Mauthausen-Gusen was intended to be a top secret Nazi death camp.
Every 3 weeks those who operated the ovens and gas chamber were murdered because of what they saw and knew.
All doctors and nursing staff were to be murdered as well including Germans.
But the most sinister plan called for all staff and inmates to be taken deep into the granite quarry and the quarry blown up if Soviet or American forces gained knowledge of the camps.
Also by John Tanner
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