Wilhelm Brasse

Wilhelm Brasse


Personal history

Descended from Austrian colonists, Wilhelm Brasse was born to a German father and a Polish mother in Żywiec, Poland, on March 12, 1917., Wilhelm Brasse was "trained as a portrait photographer in a studio owned by his aunt," in Katowice, Poland, and "had an eye for the telling image and an ability to put his subjects at ease."

After the September 1939 invasion of Poland, he was pressured by the Nazis to join them, refused, was repeatedly interrogated by the Gestapo, and tried to escape to Hungary, but he was captured at the Polish-Hungarian border and incarcerated for four months. After continuing to refuse to "declare his loyalty to Hitler," on August 31, 1940, soon after it opened, he was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp.

In February 1941, after having been called to the office of Rudolf Höß, Auschwitz's commander, along with four others, and tested for "photographic skills," he was selected specifically for his "laboratory skills" and "technical ability with a camera" and for his ability to speak German, and then ordered to document the Nazi prisoners in the camp in the "Erkennungsdienst, the photographic identification unit." His skill at photography saved his life, since, in camp conditions, the average survival rate of Auschwitz inmates who were not immediately put to death was at best only a couple of months. A year and a half later, Brasse encountered Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor who "liked" his photographs and wanted him to photograph some of the twins and people with congenital disorders moved to his infirmary on whom Mengele was "experimenting". After the Soviets entered Poland, during the Vistula-Oder Offensive, from January 12 to February 2, 1945, along with thousands of other Auschwitz prisoners, Brasse was forcibly moved to Austria, to the concentration camp in Ebensee, a subcamp of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex (the last remaining in the area still controlled by the Nazis), where he remained imprisoned until the American forces liberated him in early May 1945.

After returning home to Żywiec, a "few miles from" KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, Brasse tried to start "taking pictures again," but, traumatized, he found himself haunted by the "ghosts" of the "dead"—the subjects of his hundreds of thousands of Auschwitz pictures—and unable to resume his work as a portrait photographer, he ultimately established what would become a "moderately prosperous" sausage casing business.

Although he has gone back to the State Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau, "to talk with visitors about his experiences," and although he still possesses a "small pre-war Kodak" camera, he will "never take another photograph." (Google Books provides hyperlinked "Preview".)] ] it received the 2007 Tacenda Literary Award for Best Collaboration, from BleakHouse Publishing.


*"" (BBC and PBS, 2005), "Surprising Beginnings" and "Orders & Initiatives" (Episodes 1 & 2) ["Auschwitz: 1940–1945"] .cite web|title=Production Credits: Wilhelm Brasse (for the BBC)|url=http://www.pbs.org/auschwitz/about/credits.html|format=Web|publisher=Community Television of Southern California (KCET), (BBC and PBS)|date=2004–2005|accessdate=2008-08-30]
*"The Portraitist" ("Portrecista", TVP1, Poland, 2005). (Original language: Polish; English subtitles.)cite web|url=http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/398098/The-Portraitist/overview|title=The Portraitist (2005)|work=All Movie Guide|format=Web|publisher=movies.nytimes.com (The New York Times Company and All Media Guide)|accessdate=2008-08-30]

ee also

*Expulsion of Poles by Germany
*The Holocaust
*Kidnapping of Polish children by Nazi Germany
*Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles



* [http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005142 "Children during the Holocaust"] . "United States Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia" ("Holocaust Encyclopedia"). Accessed August 28, 2008. (Feature article.)
*Kubica, Helena. "The Extermination at KL Auschwitz of Poles Evicted from the Zamość Region in the Years 1942-1943". [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/new/index.php?tryb=news_big&language=EN&id=660 "New Book from Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum: Memorial Book ... The Expulsion of Polish Civilians from the Zamosc Region"] . Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. July 17, 2004. Accessed August 29, 2008. (Press release.)
*–––. " [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/publikacje/index.php?language=EN&ksiazka=218&mode=ksiazka&submode=info Nie wolno o nich zapomnieć/Man darf się nie vergessen Najmłodsze ofiary Auschwitz/Die jüngsten Opfer von Auschwitz] ". Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Publications. Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau w Oświęcimiu, 2002. ISBN 8388526308 (10). ISBN 9788388526305 (13). (Polish-German version.) ["This new album is devoted to the memory of the children deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the majority of whom were murdered in the camp by the Germans or fell victim to the conditions of life in the camp."] Featured in " [http://eba-www.yokohama-cu.ac.jp/~kogiseminagamine/AuschwitzMuseum-folder_ang-ult.pdf Auschwitz–Birkenau: Memorial and Museum: A Brief History and Basic Facts] ". (Web PDF). Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. 27 pages. (In English.) [Also listed as: "Published by Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau w Oświęcimiu, 2003. 383 pages; text, illustrations, indexes (including "Register of Names": 373–81). 24,5x31cm; Polish-German version."]
*Lucas, Ryan. [http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/05/news/adfg-photog5 "Auschwitz Photographer Haunted by Memories"] . "The Los Angeles Times", March 5, 2006: [in print ed.: A-3] . Accessed October 10, 2008.
*Lukas, Richard C. " [http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/lucas2.htm Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-1945] ". New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001. "Project InPosterum: Preserving the Past for the Future", "projectinposterum.org". Accessed August 28, 2008. (Excerpts from text.)
*–––. "Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation, 1939–1944". 1986. Rev. ed. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001. ISBN 0781809010 (10). ISBN 978-0781809016 (13). (Rev. by Rooney.)
*" [http://www.admit2.net/edwards_et_schreiner.htm Painting Czesława Kwoka] ", by Theresa Edwards (verse) and Lori Schreiner (art) after a series of photographs by Wilhelm Brasse. "AdmitTwo" (a2), [http://www.admit2.net/19.htm 19] (September 2007). "admit2.net". Accessed August 28, 2008.
*"The Portraitist" ("Portrecista", Poland, 2005) – 5th Polish Film Festival Programme. Spiro Ark and the [http://www.polishculture.org.uk/ Polish Cultural Institute] (UK). West London Synagogue, London. March 19 and April 22, 2007. (In Polish; with English subtitles.)
*Rees, Laurence. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=LgdSdwWaz_UC&dq=Wilhelm+Brasse&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Auschwitz: A New History] ". PublicAffairs, 2006. ISBN 1586483579 (10). ISBN 9781586483579 (13). Google Books. Accessed August 29, 2008. (Provides hyperlinked "Preview".) [Companion book for "".]
*Rooney, David [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_v38/ai_4551550 "The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation, 1939-1944"] . "National Review", September 26, 1986. "FindArticles.com". Accessed August 29, 2008. (Rev. of Lukas, "Forgotten Holocaust".)
*Struk, Janina. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jan/20/secondworldwar.warcrimes " I will never forget these scenes' "] . "Guardian.co.uk" (Guardian Media Group), January 20, 2005. Accessed August 28, 2008. (Interview with Wilhelm Brasse.)
*–––. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=P0CnKQpDIL8C&dq=Wilhelm+Brasse&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Photographing the Holocaust: Interpretations of the Evidence] ". New York and London: I.B.Tauris, 2004. ISBN 1860645461 (10). ISBN 9781860645464 (13). Google Books. Accessed August 29, 2008. (Provides hyperlinked "Preview".)
* [http://www.windhamartgallery.com/shows/june07/0607.htm Words &
] . Curators: Stuart Copans and Arlene Distler. Windham Art Gallery, Brattleboro, Vermont, June 1 – July 1, 2007. (Exhibition.)
*Zychowicz, Piotr. [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/new/index.php?language=EN&tryb=stale&id=672 "The Brothels at Auschwitz: A Little-Known Aspect of the History of the Nazi German Camp"] . Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. Rpt. from "Rzeczpospolita", July 21, 2007. Accessed August 29, 2008. [Includes interview with "Wilhelm Brasse (number 3444), the famous photographer of Auschwitz."]

External links

*" [http://www.ushmm.org/research/collections/archives/ Archives] ". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). (Description of all its archives, including: "A combined catalog of published materials available in the Museum's Library, and unpublished archival materials available in the Museum's Archives. The published materials include books, serials, videos, CDs and other media. The unpublished archival materials include microfilm and microfiche, paper collections, photographs, music, and video and audio tapes." Among "unpublished" photographs in the USHMM searchable online " [http://www.ushmm.org/research/collections/photo/ Photo Archives] " are some of Wilhelm Brasse's "identification photographs", featured online with identification of Brasse as the photographer, credit to the "National Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum", identification of individual donors, and/or USHMM copyright notices. Those who download any of its archived photographs are directed to write to the USHMM for terms and conditions of use.)
*" [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum] ". Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. English version. (Includes Centre for Education About Auschwitz and the Holocaust.) Further reference: [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/new/index.php?language=EN&tryb=stale&id=434 "Technical page"] , with credits and copyright notice, pertaining to the official Website and official publications of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
* [http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/publikacje/index.php?language=EN&kategoria=13&mode=ksiazki "Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Publications: Albums, Catalogues"] . (English version; also available in Polish and German.)
* [http://www.kroki.pl/veranstaltungen.html Photographs of Wilhelm Brasse] on the occasion of "Ein Gespräch mit Erich Hackl, Wilhelm Brasse und Ireneusz Dobrowolski" ("An interview with Erich Hackl, Wilhelm Brasse and Ireneusz Dobrowolski"), moderated by Jacek St. Buras, about "The Portraitist", October 10, 2006, featured in "Deutschsprachige Gegenwartsliteratur in Polen" at "kroki.pl" (Reihe Schritte/Kroki). (Text and captions in German.)
* [http://rekontrplan.pl/ "Portraitist"] ("Portrecista") – Official Webpage of Rekontrplan Film Group (Distributor). Adobe Flash content, including video clip. (Access: >Productions>Documentaries>Portraitist). Television Documentary film produced for TVP1, "a television channel owned by TVP (Telewizja Polska S.A.)" [Updated "Events/News" re: screenings at Polish film festivals and awards also on site.] (English and Polish language options.) (Original language of film: Polish.)
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul3DJnHvxiM&feature=related "Portrecista"] (2005) – Excerpts from the film, "Portrecista", first broadcast on TVP1, Poland, on January 1, 2006, as posted on YouTube, by "skarleee", on August 22, 2007. (In Polish; no subtitles; hyperlinked related Video clips.) (9:45).
* [http://www6.yadvashem.org/wps/portal/photo?lang=en&homepage=true "Resources & Collections: About the Photo Archive"] at Yad Vashem.

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