Today, Tuesday, January 27th, marks the seventieth anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, the death camp where the Nazis killed 1.1 million people between 1940 and 1945. 90% of those killed there were Jews and Auschwitz.was where one out of six of the Jews killed in the Holocaust were murdered. But the camp also housed, and killed, Polish people, Soviet political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “homosexuals,” and Romani.
One of the people who survived Auschwitz,was Franciszek Jaźwiecki, a Polish political prisoner and artist, who captured the faces of his fellow inmates through the hundreds of portraits he drew. As Agnieszka Sieradzka, an art historian the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, writes, “the most interesting in these portraits are eyes — a very strange helplessness.” Sieradzka also suspects Jaźwiecki saw the portraits as future artifacts, since almost every portrait featured the prisoner number of the subject, which made them identifiable.