Auschwitz’s eyes - Memory makes us free

Auschwitz’s eyes

Those who visit Auschwitz I will certainly find themselves walking along a not very long -but almost endless- corridor, covered with photos of the prisoners’ faces.  Most of these photos are of non-Jews because Jews were not photographed at the entrance, except for a few for propaganda (and no Italian Jews at all).

It is important to observe that only Jews underwent an “initial selection” once arrived at Auschwitz;  the non-Jews were all sent in the concentration camp without selection because the systematic extermination was conceived and carried by the Nazis only for the Jews and in other forms for the Gipsies and Sintis.

Corridoio dei ritratti, Auschwitz 1
Portrait Corridor, Auschwitz I

In this corridor there are photos in which prisoners look at the camera with several expressions, some of them look hopeless…

Prigioniera di Auschwitz, sguardo privo di speranza...

Other challengers…

Prigioniero di Auschwitz, sguardo sfidante...

other still full of wonder…

Prigioniero di Auschwitz, colmo di stupore

But they all are equally terrifying, because under these photographs it is possible to read their name, their profession, the date of entrance in Auschwitz and almost always the date of death (very often after a few days or weeks of stay).

Nothing more is ours: they have taken our clothes, shoes and even our hair away; if we speak, they will not listen to us, and if they listen to us, they will not understand us. They will also take our name away: and if we want to keep it, we must find in ourselves the strength to do so, to make sure that behind the name, something still of us, as we were, remains. (Primo Levi).

They were not numbers, triangles, or symbols, they were women

Prigioniera di Auschwitz


Prigioniero di Auschwitz

and children

Bambino di Auschwitz

Each of these eyes, together within this extermination camp, is like a kind of bell which reminds us that we are still alive, and that we all  have an opportunity to do good, to love, to influence the whole world.

And leaving the camp everybody would say “I have NEVER had a bad day in my life!”


Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and memorial –

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