Bearing Witness: Stories Behind the Artifacts in the Yad Vashem Museum Collection

Life in the Camps

Few of those deported to the camps survived. The few artifacts in our collection from this period, while in no way representative, allow us a glimpse of life in the camps.

The network of camps established by the Nazis was large and intricate, and included many camps with different objectives operating under different conditions, from transit and labor camps, to extermination camps. Many of the camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau being a prime example, were actually vast complexes comprising not only the machinery of murder, but also hundreds of sub-camps, in which thousands of Jews and other prisoners were assigned to slave labor in factories that fuelled the Nazi war effort.

Innovative Hand-Held Calculator That Was Completed By a Prisoner in Buchenwald
Innovative Hand-Held Calculator That Was Completed By a Prisoner in Buchenwald
Condensed version of a Yom Kippur Mahzor (holiday prayerbook) prepared in 1940 in the Saint Cyprien Camp in France
Condensed version of a Yom Kippur Mahzor (holiday prayerbook) prepared in 1940 in the Saint Cyprien Camp in France
Passover Haggadah included in a diary written in Gabersdorf Labor Camp
Passover Haggadah included in a diary written in Gabersdorf Labor Camp
Artifacts Related to the Liberation of Auschwitz
Artifacts Related to the Liberation of Auschwitz
"The Cry of Captivity" – a prayer book and calendar for the New Year 5705 – 1944
"The Cry of Captivity" – a prayer book and calendar for the New Year 5705 – 1944
Artifacts that reveal the fate of the deportees and inmates in the ghettos and camps of Transnistria
Artifacts that reveal the fate of the deportees and inmates in the ghettos and camps of Transnistria
A carbide lamp, of the kind used by Zenek (Selig) Maor (Moszkowicz) in the coal mines when he was a prisoner in the forced labor camp Janinagrube
A Carbide Lamp from the Coal Mines at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Metal bracelet with prisoner number 85458 that Aryeh Mühlrad was forced to wear in the Plaszow Concentration Camp
Alive but Alone
Grave markers inscribed with the names of Jewish women and children who were victims of Djakovo camp in Croatia
Grave markers inscribed with the names of Jewish women and children who were victims of Djakovo camp in Croatia
Testimony regarding the plight of prisoners in the Vapniarca camp, as depicted on a metal belt made in the camp
Vignettes of Camp Existence