Album Reveals Lifestyles of SS Officers at Auschwitz

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SS officer Karl Hocker lights a candle on a Christmas tree.

hide captionSS officer Karl Hocker lights a candle on a Christmas tree in 1944.

Courtesy United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The collection of images, discovered in a Frankfurt, Germany, basement, depicts the seemingly normal day-to-day lives of senior officers at Auschwitz-Birkenau — the infamous Nazi concentration camp.

The 116 photographs, taken between May and December 1944, show SS guards and Nazi officials socializing and relaxing, just months before Auschwitz was evacuated in January 1945.

The photo album belonged to SS officer Karl Hocker, who was stationed at Auschwitz from May 1944 until the camp's liberation.

Rebecca Erbelding, archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, discusses the photos, in which SS officials can been seen hunting, participating in a sing-along, lounging in deck chairs and trimming Christmas trees.

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