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The Sketchbook from Auschwitz

The Sketchbook from Auschwitz

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The Sketchbook from Auschwitz, a unique work preserved in the collections of the Auschwitz Memorial has been published by the Museum in its entirety for the first time. It is the only set of drawings made in the camp depicting the extermination of Jews deported by German Nazis to Auschwitz. The unknown author documented in his drawings also murdering of prisoners who were sick or had been worked to exhaustion.

The Sketchbook from Auschwitz

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The Sketchbook from Auschwitz, a unique work preserved in the collections of the Auschwitz Memorial has been published by the Museum in its entirety for the first time. It is the only set of drawings made in the camp depicting the extermination of Jews deported by German Nazis to Auschwitz. The unknown author documented in his drawings also murdering of prisoners who were sick or had been worked to exhaustion.

The 22 pages were stuffed inside a bottle concealed in the foundations of one of the barracks of the Birkenau camp, not far from the place where gas chambers and crematoria IV and V were located. A former prisoner Józef Odi, who was then acting as a watchman on the grounds of the Memorial, found it at the site in 1947.

The drawings which depict the extermination are mixed with different drawings presenting Auschwitz as a concentration camp. The two functions, the extermination center and the concentration camp, appear in the Sketchbook simultaneously, as it happened in the reality. Yet, the topic of extermination was singled out by the author himself. This shows that he was aware of the unprecedented nature of the events he witnessed.

"You can clearly see that the author was determined in presenting the largest number of details. Badges of functionary prisoners, number plates of the trucks, train cars on the ramp as well as block numbers are carefully depicted. The author of the Sketchbook hoped that someone would find his work so that it would became a witness of extermination", says Agnieszka Sieradzka, art historian from the Museum's Collections Department and the author of the study.

The Polish-English publication was provided with an introduction explaining the circumstances of creation of the Sketchbook. Each of the drawings is accompanied by a historical explanation and survivors' accounts.

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