We Remember Brotherhood in Suffering!


Exhibition in the Florida Holocaust Museum 2006


We acknowledge that the propriety rights in the following pictures might belong to the estate of the late artist Mr. Jan Komski of blessed memory and /or  organizations that might have acquire such rights.


We will acknowledge such right holders as  soon as we will be able to trace them.  Since the last Holocaust survivors pass away at a rapid path now, our sole purpose in publishing the following pictures is merely educational. We derive no profit whatsoever from presenting the following exhibition on our website. It is presented solely  for the benefit of the viewing public.


Captions by  Krysia & Alan Jacobs

Contributing Editor
Cybrary of the Holocaust
ajacobs "at" mail.h-net.msu.edu (replace "at" by @ to avoid spam)




Jan Komski: Auschwitz through the Eyes of a Polish Inmate


 Jan Komski was a Polish Catholic arrested while crossing the border in attempt to reach the newly formed Polish Army in France. One of the first prisoners at Auschwitz, he arrived there on June 14, 1940 and given the number 564. In 1942, Komski managed to escape but was later arrested again in the city of Krakow. Komski was lucky not to be recognized since his forged identity papers bore a different name. In addition to Auschwitz, Komski was imprisoned in Buchenwald, Hersbruck, Gross-Rosen and Dachau, where he was liberated in 1945.

After WWII, Mr. Komski immigrated to the USA, became a US citizen, and worked as an illustrator for the Washington post. He used to paint every day and, weather permitting, walked every day as well.

Mr. Komski passed away in 2002, at the age of 87. Till his last days, he remained alert, lively, very courteous and caring of others.


In memoriam of a gentile inmate in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Factory



Starvation (I)


Each prisoner was supposed to receive a daily ration of 350 grams of bread, half a liter of ersatz coffee for breakfast, and one litter of turnip and potato soup for lunch.


Also, four times a week each prisoner was supposed to receive soup with 20 grams of meat. The soup rarely reached the prisoners. Food content ranged from 1,300 calories for light-work slave prisoners to 1,700 calories for slave prisoners performing hard labor.


The Kapos made sure that the thicker, more nourishing contents from the bottom of the food barrel, were given to his favorite prisoners. Others had to subsist on the watery substance from the top. Prisoners often had dysentery, swelling of limbs, caused by starvation. The SS and the Capos treated them as if they were healthy and so they had to march to work every morning.


The SS doctors calculated that a prisoner could exist on such daily food ration for  three months. Then he was supposed to die.




Appell (Roll Call) (I)



"At almost each block, beside the men standing in line, bodies of… persons are lying.

These are the victims of the night that have not lived to see the day. Even yesterday they were standing numbers at the roll call and today they lie, lifeless and motionless.

Life is not important at the roll call.

Numbers are important. Numbers tally. How horribly they are looking, as if returned from the war. These are the marks of yesterday's work."

Zalmen Gradowski (1973), In Amidst a Nightmare of Crime. Auschwitz State Museum.





The prisoners used the 15 minutes of free time before the roll, trying to stay warm.


"Ecce homo

(Latin: "This is a Man")

This man is being released from the camp hospital. He is considered fit to work.



Starvation (II)

Scraping the bottom of the pot. Fill me, the Hole.

Aktion - Akcja - Action

Jews being arrested in a Polish town. Children were as well  enemies of the Third Reich. 1.5 Million children were murdered by the Germans during WWII.



Murder by the SS

The Black Wall, in the courtyard of Block 11, where many innocent people were shot at the base of the neck. About 20,000 people were executed here between 1940 and 1944. The officer in the picture is Lagerführer Altmeier, the camp's chief officer at the time of Komski's escape. The man doing the shooting is Rapportfürher Gerhard Palitsch. He himself shot most of the 20,000 men, women, and children murdered at this wall.




Starvation (III)

Food line in the main camp (Auschwitz I).


Administrative Punishment


When something unauthorized was found on a prisoner, like an extra piece of bread, he was subjected to this punishment. Komski himself hung like this an hour a day for three consecutive days, because he brought food and medicine back to the camp after a day at work

Hangings and Eating


This is what starvation can do to good people. Constantly surrounded by death and suffering, they have grown accustomed to sights like this. The hanging body of a fellow inmate will not deter them from their meagre ration.

(Painting in the Auschwitz Museum)

The Death Brigade


These men were assigned the work of collecting the dead each day and taking them to the crematorium. They were called the leichenkommando, literal translation: corpse squad.





My First Escape

An SS Christmas Tree Ornament: A Corpse



A Photo to Take Home


The "Canada" Commando
Storage Camp “Canada” in Auschwitz-Birkenau




Panorama of Auschwitz Birkenau

 “The Jewish Death Camp”


The Food Loser

 The Identification Number Tattoo Process
A human being becomes a number, slave of the 3rd Reich.




Daily Hangings


The Crematoriums in Birkenau


Appell (II) (Roll call)



Human Horses


Men Barbers in the Women’s Camp


Evacuation 1944

Birkenau’s Horse Stable Barracks for Humans


Forced Punishments by Kapos 












 Arrival at the Ramp from The Netherlands





Last updated January 30th, 2007



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