In the Camps • Erich Hartmann • Magnum Photos

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In the Camps

Escaping Germany in the 1930s photojournalist Erich Hartmann returns to his homeland to capture the remains of the Nazi concentration camps

Erich Hartmann

Erich Hartmann Guard towers and the memorial of ashes at Majdanek concentration camp. Lublin, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Perimeter wall of Mauthausen concentration camp. Mauthausen, Austria. 1961. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann View from the main tower of Birkenau concentration camp. Of more than 300 original buildings, 67 are still standing. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Main gate of Dachau concentration camp. It was the first concentration camp, established on March 22, 1933, near Munich. Dachau, Germany. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann A display of shoes at Auschwitz concentration camp. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann A display of suitcases at Auschwitz concentration camp. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann A display of artificial limbs at Auschwitz concentration camp. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Built originally as stables for the Polish cavalry, these buildings at Birkenau held as many as 1000 prisoners in three-tiered bunks. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann 'Staircase of Death' at Mauthausen concentration camp. Prisoners were forced to carry on their shoulders huge blocks of stone from the quarry below up 186 steps. Many fell or were pushed to their d (...)
Erich Hartmann Dissection tables in medical barracks of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Sachsenhausen, Germany. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann The barbed wire fencing at the Majdanek concentration camp. Lublin, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann A flogging table at Natzweiler concentration camp. Near Le Struthof, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann The punishment cell in Auschwitz's death bunker. Oswiecim, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Gas chamber at Majdanek concentration camp. Near Lublin, Poland. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Remains of crematorium furnace. Sachsenhausen, Germany. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Erich Hartmann Roll-call square with gallows at Natzweiler concentration camp. Near Le Struthof, France. 1994. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos

Through good fortune, Erich Hartmann and his family were able to escape Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and emigrate to America. But over the years, he was haunted by the memory of what happened in the camps to his fellow Jews and other victims of the Nazis. In this stark and compelling photographic book, Hartmann has captured the Nazi concentration camps as they exist today – quiet, empty and crumbling.

In the Camps preserves them in images before all the twenty-two camps disintegrate completely, soon to be transformed into more sanitized and less palpable reminders as museums and memorials. Devoid of life and human form, the walls, and landscapes of the camps speak loudly of the death and horror that once existed there.

Hartmann’s photographs have the intensity of poetry, creating a deeply moving remembrance of the camps, and a powerful reminder of the evils of intolerance, racism, prejudice, and the horrors of ethnic cleansing that remain pervasive today.