All photographs copyright © Alan Jacobs.

The Sauna & "Kanada"

This is where prisoners selected for slave labor were processed. [Link]

Often people would have to wait outside naked in any weather. Here they would have to give up all their remaining possessions: money, jewels, even wedding rings and photos. In short, the prisoner was left with only one possession, his or her body. In this building planned humiliation was performed on the confused and terrified new arrivals. Men and women were forced to stand on stools, in a room crowded with people while heads, armpits and other intimate parts of one's body were shaved by male prisoners and where numbers were tattooed in usually the left forearm. It is also where prisoners clothing was deloused because of the raging typhus epidemics. [Link] After liberation at Bergen-Belsen, former Auschwitz and Birkenau prisoner Adolf Gawalewicz said to British Army personal during a personal DDT session: "It's not going to work. Even the Germans couldn't get rid of the lice!"

Scrolling around to the right you see many foundations. This is where the possessions taken from prisoners were stored in barrack warehouses, named in camp jargon, “Kanada” [link]. Jews were told to bring their essential belongings on the transport to "Relocation". Immediately upon unloading, these were taken and sorted in these warehouses. [link]

Aerial view of Kanada.

Immediately upon unloading, their last remaining possessions were taken from them and sorted in these warehouses. After unloading their human victims, trains would be loaded with the possessions of earlier victims and sent back to Germany. These objects are often all that is left of their owners. They passed each other in opposite directions.

As late as 1980, many such objects were to be found in Berlin curio and antique shops, being the only passengers with a round trip ticket. The objects shown here were left behind when the Nazis burned Kanada to the ground, lest its contents fall into the hands of the advancing Soviets.

For photo see [link].