Series AF - Liberation of German Concentration Camps Photographic Collection

Portrait of Hilde Lohbauer, the SS woman without uniform, Bergen Belsen, Germany SS men loading bodies onto a truck for burial at Bergen Belsen, Germany SS female guards at Bergen Belsen, Germany Unburied bodies of Nazi victims in Bergen Belsen, Germany, Unburied bodies of Nazi victims in Bergen Belsen, Germany, Mass grave, Bergen Belsen, Germany Close up of a mass grave in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, Germany Women inmates of the camp surrounding the body of a child who was starved to death, Germany Endless piles of bodies awaiting burial, Bergen Belsen, Germany View of one of the communal graves in the camp, Bergen Belsen, Germany
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Reference code

ZA UCT BC1556_AF

Title

Liberation of German Concentration Camps Photographic Collection

Date(s)

  • 1945 (Creation)

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Series

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15 items

Archival history

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This collection was donated to the Centre in 2005 by Colonel G. A. Lennox, Acting Officer Commanding the South African Air Force Museum.

Scope and content

This collection contains fifteen photographs taken at various German concentration camps, including Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau, after they were liberated by the Allied Forces in early 1945. Thirteen of the images were taken at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, one at Buchenwald and one at Dachau. The images were created and distributed by the British War Office and Associated Press, respectively. The British War Office still functioned during this time as a department responsible for political and financial control of the army. Many of the images in this assorted collection form part of the ‘War Office Second World War Official Collection (photographs)’ created by the British No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit.
The photographs were taken as evidence of the inhumane treatment of political prisoners, particularly Jews, by the Nazi regime. Many of the photographs were entered as legal evidence against Nazis being tried for war crimes following the war. The images were also distributed throughout the British Empire and the United States to expose and demonstrate the extent of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Some of the images also formed a part of a report commissioned by the South African government on the conditions in German concentration camps.

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