Claim: Photos from the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz were faked/staged

MattieK

New Member
A conspiracy theorist from my country has retweeted a tweet from Stew Peters, an American conspiracy theorist and white supremacist, claiming that the photos from the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz were faked.


Source: https://x.com/realstewpeters/status/1798089964426572078

External Quote:
Anne Frank’s step-sister admits that photos from Auschwitz are completely FAKE…on live television.
The video in the tweet is of horrible quality, so I found the original source.
It comes from a Good Morning Britain interview from January 27, 2020 with Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and the step-sister of Anne Frank. Here is the quote from the video about the photographs:


Source: https://youtu.be/4-JM6ChF-Fw?si=mMTYFipS8T7PvLha

External Quote:
Another thing I wanted to point out, there are many pictures about the Russians liberating Auschwitz and there's never any snow. The snow was honestly that high, I was at the Russian embassy once and I said "Something puzzles me, those photos are fake". 'They said, "Well yes, they are not fakes", but when the army came they didn't have cameras they didn't take photographs. Only much later they took pictures, you see now, but this is definitely not in Auschwitz and not the liberation of Auschwitz.
The claim bassicaly stands on "She’s a Holocuast survivor so it must be true" which is funny because Holocaust deniers claim all Holocaust survivors lie.

I couldn’t find almost any discussion about this claim on the Internet (aside some r/conspiracy post and Neo-Nazis on X) so I’m posting it here.
 
The concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz are a matter of historical certainty, as is their purpose.
The liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army is likewise a fact.

Eva Schloss claims photos were not taken at the immediate time of liberation.
She thinks the brief footage in the Good Morning Britain clip is not from Auschwitz, but she's not saying it's not from a Nazi concentration/ extermination camp.

Without seeing the photos she's referring to, it's difficult to assess what she says.
It wouldn't be beyond USSR authorities to use photos/ film from a different location, or stage some elements of an event that hadn't been visually documented at the time.

The famous image of a Red Army soldier raising a flag over the Reichstag was doctored by Soviet authorities,
and the "official" account of which soldiers participated may have been altered for political reasons,
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_a_Flag_over_the_Reichstag

Whether Soviet sources substituted or staged photos/ filming of the liberation of Auschwitz might be an interesting question.

But it has no bearing on the existence of Auschwitz, the scale of industrialised murder that occurred there or the obscenity of the human experiments that were performed.
 
Stew Peters is widely known to be a holocaust denier, and he is unlikely to allow facts to bother him. He is making a mountain out of a molehill; IF the photos were not taken at exactly the same time as previously thought, it does nothing to change the factual narrative of that whole dreadful policy.
 
The footage in the Good Morning Britain interview comes from a Soviet propaganda film, Chronicle of Liberation of Auschwitz, filmed by the 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army. In a podcast by the Polish Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum "On Auschwitz" theres is an episode about the film. Here’s a quote about the creation of the film:

External Quote:

The film crew did not take part in the liberation of the city of Auschwitz and the camp, but it arrived at the camp site after the liberation the very next day on January 28, 1945.

But already on February 7, Captain Oshurkov sends a telegram to the film studio in Moscow a telegram stating “We are filming the Auschwitz camp.”

The next day, February 8, it was already 11 days after the liberation, he sends the first 500 meters of tape to this studio and here we assume that this time was spent by the cameramen to familiarize themselves with the terrain and the camp facilities.

(…)

In a subsequent telegram dated February 15, Capt. Oshurkov asks to send by air an an additional cameraman with a portable light source, to film the work of the Soviet commission, especially the their members and the interiors of the barracks and gas chamber.

(…)

On March 19, Captain Mikhail Oshurkov sends to Moscow another 2,500 linear meters of tape, mentioning that this material should be combined with that previously sent and that it should be handled with care, as it was shot in extremely difficult conditions.
http://www.camps.bbk.ac.uk/testimonies/the-liberation-of-auschwitz.html

https://www.auschwitz.org/en/museum/news/on-auschwitz-auschwitz-memorial-podcast-series,1484.html

So yeah, I guess that explains the "no snow” part pretty well.
 
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I wouldn't trust anything the Soviets said about Auschwitz, because

a) I wouldn't trust anything the Soviets said about anything, and

b) for many years the Soviets played down the specifically Jewish aspect of the Holocaust, preferring to emphasise the nationality of the victims, especially when they were citizens of the USSR. As of course many of them were, whether Jewish or not.

Fortunately it is not necessary to rely on Soviet sources for the broad truth of the Holocaust account, as there are multiple other sources, ranging from the memoirs of survivors to the confessions of the camp commandant, Rudolf Hoss, at the Nuremberg trials, and later those of Adolf Eichmann. And there is the simple, overwhelming fact that before the war there were millions of Jews in the areas controlled by the Nazis, while after the war most of them had disappeared without any plausible explanation other than mass murder.
 
There are two issues:
• provenance and provenience of the video clips used by the TV programme to illustrate the liberation of Auschwitz
• claim by Eva Schlosser that there was snow in Auschwitz on January 27th, 1945

The claim of snow is not extraordinary at all. Here's corroborating evidence:
Bundesarchiv_B_285_Bild-04413,_KZ_Auschwitz,_Einfahrt.jpg

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_B_285_Bild-04413,_KZ_Auschwitz,_Einfahrt.jpg
 
Only much later they took pictures, you see now, but this is definitely not in Auschwitz and not the liberation of Auschwitz.
That leaves the possibility that these pictures were taken at a different KZ; Schlosser relates in the interview that all KZ in Poland were liberated by the Red Army, not just Auschwitz.
They could just be misattributed.
 
External Quote:
Anne Frank’s step-sister admits that photos from Auschwitz are completely FAKE…on live television.
I would say that footage, taken by russians, of russians appearing to liberate prisoners in a german concentration camp in Poland near the end of world war two, being used as a substitute for footage, taken by russians, of russians appearing to liberate prisoners in a german concentration camp elsewhere in Poland near the end of world war two doesn't deserve the description "completely FAKE".

Context matters, and the context is what is the intended payload of the communication - who is it trying to inform whom about what, and why?

I saw a vid on the Baltic States with beautiful drone footage of the capital labelled with a Lithuanian flag yesterday that included shots of the towers, spires, and my own roof. Was the video "completely FAKE" just because it was 500km out? Nah, it was purely eye candy - I should have been flattered.

I also saw an astronomy vid which had an "artist's impression" of inflows into an accretion disk - was that "completely FAKE" because it was entirely from the imagination of the graphics guy? Nah, it was informative about what a real one would be like (because this one did actually follow the physics, 99% of them seem not to, and those drive me nuts).

Are the "here's one I prepared earlier"s in cooking shows "completely FAKE" too. Nah, they don't have access to time travel, and they don't want to waste your time.

Sure, you can draw attention to the incorrect labelling, that's fine, precision and accuracy are good, but if the error doesn't change the payload of the message, then you're missing the more important aspects. How would fixing one detail on the label change the bulk of what's being communicated?
 

The Liberation of Auschwitz - A Soviet documentary, 1945 (21 mins)​

This Soviet film about Auschwitz uses footage shot during the first months after liberation (some scenes are staged). In addition to the horrors of the camp, the film also shows how the liberators understood Auschwitz in 1945. The film gives a graphic account of prisoners suffering from starvation, disease and SS violence. But there are also omissions and inaccuracies. The Holocaust hardly features, for example, as the role of Auschwitz in the systematic extermination of European Jews was not yet fully understood. And the figure of 4 million dead, often quoted in the first years after the war, was greatly inflated; historians now estimate that around 1.1 million prisoners died in Auschwitz.
http://www.camps.bbk.ac.uk/testimonies/the-liberation-of-auschwitz. (Birkbeck, University of London)

At 9.21 in the film there is an image of a child and below is that child, Vera Kriegel Grossman as an 80 year old pointing to herself and Olga,her twin sister . She discusses their time at Auschwitz, Mengele and relevant to this discussion- the liberation and circumstances surrounding the capture of images, in a TV programme broadcast in the uk (Hougenai pers comm). Unfortunately I am unable to locate the interview and only mention it in the hope another member might help.
In the interview, she explains how this scene is one of the staged scenes with the explanation that no one would be allowed between the two fences when the camp was under German control (the presence of insulators on the fence suggest it was also electrified). (note the lack of snow in the image Vera is pointing to compared with the lower image )
gettyimages-909626638-1024x1024.jpg



View of a section of the barbed-wire fence and barracks at Auschwitz at the time of the liberation of the camp. Auschwitz, Poland, January 1945
0a397t5h.png

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/images/large/69bd7b2f-2bc5-4395-810e-b3b8f18464c8.jpg



From the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation article Finding the Children Behind the Barbed Wire;
First, we found multiple versions of the photo. Each was taken from a slightly different angle and revealed and obscured different children. This is because, we discovered, the photos were not really photos at all, but frames from a film taken by Captain Alexander Vorontsov, a Red Army cameraman from the Soviet film crew, who was attached to the 1st Ukrainian Front. He made this film immediately after Auschwitz was liberated.

Though we do not know on what date the films were recorded, we know that the film crew was at Auschwitz from January 27 to February 28, 1945. Eighteen minutes of the footage that was shot during that time was shown during the Nuremberg trials as proof of Nazi crimes. But other than that, the footage sat in Soviet archives until 1985 when a pair of West German documentary filmmakers, Irmgard and Bengt von zur Muhlen, produced “Liberation of Auschwitz 1945.” Interspersed throughout the documentary is an interview with Vorontsov. At the time he was the last living photographer of the six who photographed the liberation.
https://sfi.usc.edu/news/2015/01/8451-finding-children-behind-barbed-wire

On liberation we have the witness testimony that details 18mins of footage taken, yet the Soviet Liberation of Auschwitz (top) is 21mins. This and Vera Kriegel testimony corroborates that staged scenes are used in the final film as there simply is not sufficient footage from the actual liberation to account for the timings even had it all been included.

In terms of Eva Schloss's testimony re Red army's lack of cameras, she is contradicted by Vorontsov's testimony and it's acceptance as evidence at Nuremberg
The Soviet film has scenes with and without snow, so in this respect she is correct and is supported by the images of snow between the fence on liberation, and no snow in the film of Vera and Olga Kriegel between the fences in the film, also by the summary of the Soviet film's content by Birkbeck.
 
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