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Holocaust photograph collection

Call Number: MS 1854

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of 152 photographs of concentration camps liberated by the armies of the United States and Great Britain in 1945 and the war crimes trials that followed. The bulk of the photographs date from April - May 1945, though many were released at a later date. Most of the photographs have caption labels. Only a few photographers are mentioned by name. The collection is organized in alphabetical order under three headings: Concentration camps and other sites of atrocities, Individuals, and Trials. The location of the image(s) is given, followed in brackets by the country, liberating army if known, number of photographs, and relevant information.

The majority of the photographs are included under the first heading and focus primarily on the liberation of concentration camps in Germany, although there are photographs taken in Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Soviet Union. These photographs portray the atrocities of the camps including images of the dead, the workings of the camps, and the reactions of liberated prisoners and liberating soldiers. Many of these photographs depict German civilians compelled to witness the atrocities of the camps and to act as gravediggers and pallbearers for the victims. There are five photographs of General Eisenhower reviewing the camps at Ohrdruf (related to Buchenwald) and Gotha and several which include a delegation from the U.S. Congress to Buchenwald.

Under the second heading, Individuals, there are four photographs depicting two American P.O.W.s rescued from German camps. The Trials contain images of the war crimes trials in Germany and Italy after the war. These are photographs of the judicial process. Although focused on the Nazi defendants, they include images of judges, lawyers, witnesses, and the evidence introduced. There are fifteen photographs from the Nuremberg trials, April - May 1947, and one photograph from the trial of Adolf Hitler in Munich, October 1948, in which the verdict is read to an empty chair.


  • 1943-1951

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Judaica Collection Curator, 2005.


Photographs are arranged in three series: I. Concentration camps and other sites of atrocities. II. Individuals. III. Trials.


0.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of photographs of Holocaust atrocities, concentration camps liberated by the armies of the United States and Great Britain in 1945, and subsequent war crimes trials.

Guide to the Holocaust Photograph Collection
Under Revision
compiled by Christopher Geissler
June 2005
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours