All photographs copyright © Alan Jacobs.

Auschwitz I Appelplatz (Roll Call Square)

The three posts in front of the building across the street support a train rail used only once, in July 1943, to hang 12 Polish prisoners. Scrolling right a bit, you see the Rapportführer's booth from where the roll was conducted. Scrolling around you can see the entire length of the Appelplatz.

Prisoners were assembled here and in both directions left and right, in the morning and evening. It is one of the places where “selections”were made sending prisoners back to slave labor or to their deaths. Each morning and evening all prisoners had to be accounted for, even those who had perished. See [link].

From prisoner Salmen Gradowski's diary found buried beneath the ashes at Krematorium II-Birkenau after the war*. “At almost each block, beside the men standing in line, bodies of three, four persons are lying. These are the victims of the night that have not lived to see the day. Even yesterday they were standing members of the roll-call and today they lie, lifeless, motionless. Life is not important at the roll-call. Numbers are important. Numbers tally…

See [link].

*Gradowski, S. in “Amidst a Nightmare of Crime: Notes of Prisoners of Sonderkommando Found at Auschwitz”, p.p.104 -105, Oswiecim: State Museum at Auschwitz.