As a result of extensive searches conducted in both the Zentralbauleitung collection and the other Auschwitz Museum archival resources, a range of interesting and previously unknown documents has been identified. The majority of them (over 70) are presented in the book "The Beginnings...", divided into six basic thematic sections: — the history of the gas chamber at crematorium I in the Auschwitz I camp; — the functioning of the provisional gas chambers in Birkenau, known as bunkers I and II (“The Little Red House” and “The Little White House”); — the wooden barracks used as undressing rooms for the people murdered in bunkers I and II; — the history of the unloading ramp where Jews deported to Auschwitz underwent selection; — the establishment of the Sonderkommando and its first year of existence; — the mass murders, known as “special operations,” carried out in the camp. These documents make it possible significantly to clarify the chronology of events and to confirm facts known until now only through witness accounts.
This publication is available in Polish-English version.
Hope is the Last to Die
Halina Birenbaum is a writer, poet and translator. She was born in Warsaw in 1929. She spent the occupation in the Warsaw Gheto, and in the concentration camps at Majdanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbrück and Neustadt-Glewe, from where she was freed in 1945. In 1947 she emigrated to Israel. She worked in a kibbutz until her marriage in 1950. Now she lives in Hertzliya, with her husband and two sons. In numerous lectures and meetings with Israeli youth, she talks about her knowledge of the Holocaust. Life and death during the years of the occupation and the martyrdom of Polish Jews in concentration camps and ghettos are the main subjects of Halina Birenbaum's prose and poetry. Her works are sad but devoid of hatred. What emerges from them are peace, kindness and belief in man. She writes in Polish — the language of her childhood — and her work has been published in Poland, Israel, Germany and the United States. Her memoirs "Hope is the Last to Die", which she was prompted to write by the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, are shocking, authentic, and candid.