The Holocaust is one of humanity’s greatest inhumanities to man. The horror has longbeen limited to monochrome – but newly colourised images hit home the tragedy of Auschwitz.
According to the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, around 1.1 million of the 1.3 million deported to the notorious site during the Second World War were murdered – one million of whom were Jews. Crammed into trains before being worked to death, starved, gassed, killed in medical experiments, they were killed on an industrial scale.
On January 27, 1945, Soviet soldiers entered to free those still alive from their merciless imprisonment. However, images taken just a year before illustrate the camp’s stripping of dignity in harrowing detail.
The historic pictures show prisoners wearing the infamous striped outfits long associated with the camp, as well as Jewish families waiting in line wearing large Star of David badges on their chests.
The images were taken by a photographer sent to the camp in 1944, making up one of only two known picture sets of the extermination process at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
They have since been restored and colourised for a two-part Channel 4 documentary, Auschwitz Untold: In Colour, which marks 75 years since the camp was liberated. The programme, which is narrated by actor Sir Ben Kingsley, will feature 16 survivors recounting ‘extraordinary accounts of survival and resistance against all odds in their own voices’.
Sheldon Lazarus, development producer on the documentary, said:
The 16 survivors who feature in this series tell their extraordinary accounts of survival and resistance against all odds in their own voices. Accompanied by remarkable colourised footage from the archives, we hope this series will help remove a barrier that separates contemporary audiences from the reality of the Holocaust, so that we never ever forget the atrocities of the past.
With the 75th anniversary to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz in 2020, we felt it was really timely and important to bring to life the untold stories of the Holocaust in a new way.
Lead director and producer David Shulman added he wanted to make a documentary with ‘as much contemporary resonance as possible… making this history more accessible to a younger audience and giving greater humanity to the people seen in the footage’.
The Holocaust – the Nazi campaign to dismantle, segregate and eradicate Europe’s Jewish population – took the lives of six million Jews, with Auschwitz playing a large part. When it was eventually liberated, it had more than 40 camps and sub-camps.
Auschwitz Untold: In Colour is set to air January 26 and 27 on More4 at 9pm, with a 90-minute special on January 29 at 10.30pm on Channel 4.
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