Photographs from SS soldiers at Aushwitz, donated earlier this year to the United States Holocaust Museum, offer a rare view of the notorious concentration camp before its liberation in 1945. Taken in the summer and fall of 1944, during which the gas chambers were operating at maximum efficiency, the photographs show SS officers relaxing and socializing during their last months before the evacuation of the camp.
Although his name does not appear in the album, dates and decorations indicate that it was created by SS-ObersturmfÃƒÂ¼hrer Karl HÃƒÂ¶cker, the adjutant to the commandant of Auschwitz, SS-SturmbannfÃƒÂ¼hrer Richard Baer.
At left, HÃƒÂ¶cker and SS women relax on lounge chairs on a deck in Solahutte. The original caption reads: "On the terrace of the hut." (Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum)