The year was likely 1937, only at the start of the human catastrophe of the Holocaust. And the picture comes from a photo album compiled by the creators of the notorious camp to celebrate its opening.
The album is part of a huge batch of newly digitized evidence from the main Nazi war crimes trials at Nuremberg that has just been transferred to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington from the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands.
Historians wanted to preserve the record of the trials before the fragile evidence deteriorated. There are also 250,000 pages of documents, along with films and 775 recorded hours of the proceedings originally captured on 1,492 metal phonograph discs.
Together they make up a major new digital collection of Nuremberg material, as well as a firsthand account of the famous post-World War II trials that detailed the breadth and depravity of Nazi crimes, museum officials said.
“Now, you have not only the textual material, but you have the sound material, the photographic material, and you have the motion picture film,” said Henry Mayer, a veteran Holocaust researcher and senior archives adviser at the museum.
“It’s the first time that all of this material has been basically readily available,” he said. “It’s a major accomplishment.”
The Mémorial de la Shoah, the French Holocaust museum in Paris, which partnered on the project, has also received the digital trial evidence.
The idea to reproduce the evidence goes back a decade, said Radu Ioanid, director of the U.S. museum’s international archival programs. The project got underway about four years ago. A formal agreement was signed in July 2017 to reproduce the records, he said. The digitization took place over two years, and the museum received the final deliveries last month.
Some of the items are known to modern scholars from other sources and in older formats, but some have rarely been seen or heard, the museum said.