The Blue Skies Project | Auschwitz

The Auschwitz complex of SS concentration camps was the largest and most lethal that the Germans built. In less than 5 years, the SS and their auxiliaries killed nearly 1.3 million people in the Auschwitz camps, with over 90% of the victims being Jewish. For many, Auschwitz remains synonymous with the Holocaust itself. The entrance of the Auschwitz I main camp entrance gate famously had iron "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work will make you free) above it.

Auschwitz was also unique in the sense that there were three main camps instead of one: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II - Birkenau, and Auschwitz III - Monowitz. The gas chambers in Auschwitz I gave the camp its distinctively horrible character in most people's minds. Most of the killings took place in Auschwitz II - Birkenau, and the development of gassing techniques was one of the most important events in the camp's history.

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source: USHMM Encyclopedia of camps and ghettos, 1933-1945; Indiana Press


Auschwirtz is part of a series of journeys that I'm undertaking to photograph the blue skies precisely above the (last known) location of every single one of the 1,075 concentration camps that have ever existed, as part of an photography/book/installation project called The Blue Skies Project. The project has proven quite immense and almost impossible to hold on to single-handedly – with staggering logistics to match – but I'm hanging in there.