The Arrival of the Soviet POW’s

Arrival of POW’S. They were starved almost to the breaking point and in some instances started eating each other. Here, prisoners in stripes help the near-dead soldiers off the carts at the entrance to the camp. The smoke stacks of the camp kitchen are only yards away. The saying above the front gate is Arbiet Macht Frei (Works Makes Freedom), the cynical joke adorning the entrance to many camps in Poland and Germany. The Nazis treated the Soviet POW’S more horribly than troops of any other nationality, Hitler having deemed the war a racial struggle for survival over the Slavs and Communism. Often POW’s would be surrounded by barbed wire and left to their own resources with no food, water or housing.

Watercolor: Wladyslaw Siwek
Reproduction courtesy of Auschwitz Museum Archive, 1980