Auschwitz, in color

Perhaps you’ve been troubled in recent years by the casual invocation of Auschwitz and other Holocaust references as analogies to current politics.

They’re meant as shock value but too often the effect is to blunt the shock of the Holocaust.

There was nothing like the Holocaust, which is why a project that made its debut this month on the internet is so important.

Faces of Auschwitz is the work of Marina Amaral, 24, a Brazilian who specializes in the colorization of black-and-white images.

She was initially inspired by the registration photo of Czesława Kwoka, one of 230,000 children sent to the death camp in Poland.

She lasted three months in the camp.

“Czesława Kwoka was only 14 years old, but she was braver than I ever would be. If I make a small cut on my finger, it’s the end of the world,” Amaral writes. “She has been beaten by a kapo, but she looks so strong. It seemed even more real and powerful after I colored the bruises and blood on her face. ”

Colorizing one image can take about a month, and there are 38,916 registration photographs that survived the Nazis last-minute attempt to destroy all of them.

“It is much easier to identify with these people once you understand them and see them as real human beings,” Amaral says. “It has nothing to do with me or my job but with the power of the colors to make us understand that these people who lived hundreds of years before us also had families, friends and dreams and have gone through difficult times — just like us. Look at Czesława’s eyes.”

The website went live on Thursday with 12 pictures and their stories.

  • Guest

    when I first learned of the Holocaust, I was glad it was all in the past…….then I learned more 🙁

    I can not fathom those who deny it ever occurred.

    • >>I can not fathom those who deny it ever occurred.<<

      Don't even get me started about that.

      In WW2 my uncle helped liberate a death camp. He brought home some horrific photos…

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I’m never sure that the genealogy is correct, but there was a “cousin” in the Ungerleider family tree that was part of the D-Day assault in Normandy and eventually a liberator of the camp at Nordhausen. Gen. Alvin D. Ungerleider. A nice story about him can be found at:
        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/on-d-day-remembering-a-humble-hero/

  • Al

    Thank you for sharing this, Bob.

  • John

    We believe my Grandfather was among a tank brigade that liberated a concentration camp, but could only barely get that confirmed by him. Being a good Finlander in MN, he would never speak about it, but I know from the nightmares he had and the way he lived his life (ALWAYS in the service of others, helping), that he spent the 70 years after the war trying to right the wrongs that others had wrought upon the world.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t miss his kindness. He would not be happy with the state of our country today.

    • One of the kindest, sweetest people I ever met was a guy in the town I lived in before moving to Minnesota (Sheffield, MA).

      Rev. John Gaskill arrived at Dachau three days after it was liberated and ministered to the people there (including SS soldiers).

      He was an extraordinary man and I always marvelled that he could witness such a horror and still retain his humanity.

      https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33281843/john-gilbert-gaskill

      • kevins

        My dad also helped liberate Dachau..still doesn’t talk about it, and chose not to go there when touring the area with a couple of his grand kids.

  • Rafal Knap

    The author should have mentioned that (1) Czesława Kwoka was Polish and (2) Auschwitz was a German camp in occupied Poland. Details matter…

    • The location of the camp being in Poland was in the fifth paragraph.

      The reason I provide links is that I can’t fit every detail into a blog post. That’s not the intent of the blog. It’s to provide a gateway to the details.

      • Rafal Knap

        Yes, you provided location but the camp was German and that’s a huge difference.

        • KTFoley

          Click on the first link in the post.

          Read the first sentence.

      • Adrian Wolski

        Sir, are you a Marxist? Your explanation reminds me of Marxist dialectics. From September the 1st 1939 to May 1945 Poland was occupied by Germans and Soviets. Our government was installed in London, England. We never collaborated with Germans. That girl on the picture was Polish. The Auschwitz camp was not in Poland. It was in occupied Poland. And this is a massive difference. HITLER’S Germany divided Poland between the General Government and the Third Reich. Therefore your blog does not provide truthful information. Maybe you need (just like most Americans who seems to be experts on Holocaust) read some documents’ based positions and not only antiPolish memoirs written by people with questionable past.

        • JamieHX

          I think most people know that the Polish people were not responsible for what the Nazi’s did in Poland, if that’s the point you’re trying to make.

          • Rafal Knap

            Obama didn’t know camps were German…so, yeah it is important to state that every time…

          • JamieHX

            Obama’s saying “Polish death camps” does not mean that he didn’t know the camps were run by Germans/Nazis. Many people use that language, referring to the LOCATION of the camps. Many, many people less learned and knowledgeable than Obama know the camps were built and run by Nazis.

          • Adrian Wolski

            Nazis? There was no such nation as Nazis. There were all Germans! Nazi was a short name for the NSDAP. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
            We Poles are very sensitive about calling death camp Polish or even saying they were in Poland. There was an instant death penalty for the whole family for helping a Jewish person in any way during the WW2. How many of you would risk your and your family life to save a Jew? And still there are some Jewish people who seem to forget about this fact. Shame on them!

        • Settle down, Adrian. We’re all friends. We don’t call each other names. Just make your point without questioning the character or motive of other Commenters.

          • Adrian Wolski

            Well, I haven’t noticed I called anyone any names here. My intention is to defend the memory of those who fought and often lost everything against the German death machine. Rafał Knap asked you to correct the predominantly false statement and you have not done it. If you really want to have a reasonable discussion, we cannot discuss about facts. Facts are unquestionable. My opinions of course might be incorrect, but I’d appreciate if you add a word occupied before Poland. I belive those who fought and died in WW2 against German terror and barbaric occupation deserve it. My both grandfathers were among them. One of them has been murdered by the German/Austrian in Mauthausen.

          • Mark Davenport

            Occupied Poland or just Poland. It’s just symantics. The fact remains that it was and is in Poland. On Polish soil. It has nothing to do with the Polish people being complicit or not. It was the Nazis who were responsible.