The series of haunting photos are part of a project titled 'Faces of Auschwitz' and is on display in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.
Cover Image Credits: Marina Amaral / Faces Of Auschwitz
Trigger warning: This story contains graphic images and descriptions of Auschwitz.
On this day 75 years ago, thousands of prisoners were set free from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. From 1940 until 1945, more than 1.3 million men, women, and children were murdered at this death camp. Of those 1.3 million people, almost 1.1 million were Jews, but it also included 140,000 Polish people, 23,00 Romas, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and 25,000 others.
Now, an artist named Joel Bellviure has released a series of colorized photographs that honor the memory of those who were massacred by the Nazis. The series of pictures is a part of a project titled 'Faces of Auschwitz' and is on display in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. This project is a collaboration between Marina Amaral and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.
The project's website reads, "The goal of the project is to honor the memory and lives of Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners by colorizing registration photographs culled from the museum's archive and sharing individual stories of those whose faces were photographed." One of the featured victims in the Nazi concentration camps was Istvan Reiner. He was just four years old when he was deported to Auschwitz with his mother, Livia Reiner, and his grandmother.
When Ivan arrived at the camp, he and his grandmother were separated from Livia and sent to the gas chamber. Livia spent her time in the concentration camp doing forced labor. She survived the war, and later, migrated to Africa. Another prisoner featured in the exhibition is a young girl named Czesława Kwoka. She was taken from her home in eastern Poland, along with her mother, by the Nazis.
Kwoka arrived at Auschwitz on December 13, 1942, along with 318 other women. She was murdered by the Nazis, 67 days later, with phenol injection to her heart, because she was deemed racially unsuitable for 'Germanization', a term used by the Nazis to force their language, culture, and ideologies upon the people of Eastern Europe.
Another 17-year-old prisoner featured in the exhibit, named Iwan Rebałka, was a political prisoner. He was taken from his home in Syrowatka to the camp and died five months after his arrival. His death records were falsified to say that he died from a perinephric abscess, but in reality, he was killed by phenol injection to the heart by SS-Unterscharführer Scherpe.
Also featured in the exhibit is Janina Nowak, who managed to escape the camp. Her escape angered the Nazis and as punishment, 200 other Polish women were imprisoned. Nowak was later captured and brought back to Auschwitz, then transferred to Ravensbrück, where she remained until its liberation at the end of April 1945.
In the Channel 4 documentary titled Auschwitz Untold: In Colour, 16 Holocaust survivors tell their stories and the colorized pictures showcase from time to time. David Shulman, the director of the series, said to The Telegraph, "The colorization of the black and white archive is one aspect of making this history more accessible to a younger audience, and giving greater humanity to the people seen in the footage."