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The flowers of Birkenau, photo essay by Andrea Giubelli

The flowers of Birkenau, photo essay by Andrea Giubelli

Visiting the nazi extermination camp of Birkenau, the first thing you notice is the large dimension. A huge area surrounded by netting. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the most important concentration and extermination camp established by Nazi Germany to implement its Final Solution policy. In the camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau 1,2 million people were exterminated. Nowadays the camp is a large green field spotted by flowers, but seventy years ago the prisoners couldn’t see the grass and the flowers: the field was trampled by wooden clogs of the prisoners and the boots of the guards. The prisoners lived in a world without color: the field dry and dusty in the short Polish summer and muddy and snow during the long winter months. Thinking to the monochrome place of those days, I have taken the images where the grass and the flowers are the main subjects: the colors that the prisoners didn’t see. For this reason I didn’t choose the black and white to increase the drama (could a photo increase the level of drama seen at Auschwitz-Birkenau?). With the flowers and the green grass that nowadays covering the extermination camp, I’d like to make a small gift to the victims. (Andrea Giubelli)

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