Faces of Auschwitz: Salomon Honig

SALOMON HONIG, a Polish Jew born on 15 May 1889 was a merchant. His mother was Ryfka Honig, and he was born in a village of Kołaczyce near Jasło (at that time it was part of Poland under the Austro-Hungarian Partition). At the time of his arrest Salomon Honig was living in Tarnów at Folwarcznastrasse 11. Yet, we do not know the reason or any other circumstances of his arrest.

The metal device visible in the left picture was part of a spinning chair. It held the head in the correct position during the photographing. 

Salomon was deported to the German Nazi Auschwitz camp on 5 March 1942 in a group of 27 people sent to the camp by the order of Sipo & Sicherheitsdienst from the prison in Tarnów. He received number 26389.  He died in Auschwitz on 18 March 1942. The official death certificate names “Gehirnschlag” – a stroke – as the cause of death, but in most cases this information was a lie, as the SS administration of the camp usually tried to hide the real reasons of death of prisoners.

Honig was deported to Auschwitz before the beginning of mass extermination of Jews in gas chambers as part of the “Final Solution to the Jewish question” – the extermination of European Jews planned by Nazi Germany. Between June 1940 and March 1942, around 2,000–2,100 Jews were taken to the camp, of which number nearly 90% were killed. The Auschwitz Memorial Archives preserves 38,916 photos of registered prisoners (31,969 photos of men & 6,947 photos of women). The photographs were taken from the first quarter of 1941 until spring 1943. This means that the photographs that exist today show less than 10 percent of all registered prisoners of Auschwitz (approximately 400 thousand people).

In this project, we will show both some of the prisoners whose stories are well known and documented but also people about whom we know very little or nothing.

• Learn more about the story of Jewish prisoners of the camp in this online lesson provided by the Auschwitz Memorial.

A page from the daily record books with names of prisoners who died on 18 March 1942 – Salomon Honig is listed second from the bottom.

Please do not share the photos without proper attribution and context.

Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above. Collaborator: Seamus Bellamy.

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