These mugshots of Auschwitz guards were published by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance and you can see the evils that run the deadliest concentration camp of the Second World War.
The full database contains over 25,000 records that cover personnel of multiple concentration camps. Of those, thousands relate to people who worked at Auschwitz—which was not a single camp, but a network of camps that both enslaved and killed Jews, Poles, political prisoners, Roma people, homosexuals, the mentally ill and disabled, and others.
Various estimates indicate that the Auschwitz Auschwitz was garrisoned by 700 commanders and guards in 1941, about 2 thousand in June 1942, about 3 thousand in April 1944, and about 3,300 SS men and female overseers in August 1944.
The peak figure came in mid-January 1945, in connection with the final evacuation of the camp, when there were 4,480 SS men and 71 female SS supervisors there. Throughout the entire period that the camp was in existence, a total of some 8,000 to 8,200 SS men and some 200 female guards served in the garrison.
The majority of the Auschwitz garrison was made up of Germans who held German citizenship (Reichsdeutsche). There were also ethnically German SS men there (Volksdeutsche) who had previously held citizenship in occupied countries or in Third Reich satellite countries like Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The records on the education of 1,209 Auschwitz SS guards indicate that they had received relatively little schooling. 70% of them had elementary education, 21,5% secondary, and 5.5% higher education. Among those with higher education, the majority were doctors or architects working in the SS construction offices.
More members of the Auschwitz SS garrison stood trial in Poland than anywhere else. From 1946 to 1949, about 1 thousand people suspected of committing war crimes at Auschwitz were extradited to Poland, mostly from the American occupation zone in Germany. Charges were brought against 673 people, including 21 women.
The most common sentences for lower-ranking members of the Auschwitz garrison were three years in prison (203 times, for 31.9% of all the sentences) and 4 years (111 times, 17.5%). Death and life sentences were relatively rare (41 times, 6.1%).
At least 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945, and at least 1.1 million died. Overall 400,207 prisoners were registered in the camp: 268,657 male and 131,560 female.
A study in the late 1980s by Polish historian Franciszek Piper, published by Yad Vashem in 1991, used timetables of train arrivals combined with deportation records to calculate that, of the 1.3 million sent to the camp, 1,082,000 had died there, a figure (rounded up to 1.1 million) that Piper regarded as a minimum. That figure came to be widely accepted.
Around one in six Jews killed in the Holocaust died in Auschwitz. By nation, the greatest number of Auschwitz’s Jewish victims originated from Hungary, accounting for 430,000 deaths, followed by Poland (300,000), France (69,000), Netherlands (60,000), Greece (55,000), Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (46,000), Slovakia (27,000), Belgium (25,000), Germany and Austria (23,000), Yugoslavia (10,000), Italy (7,500), Norway (690), and others (34,000).
(Photo credit: Institute of National Remembrance / Statistics from Auschwitz Org).