By Ignacio Mardones
May 13, 2024

Look at the detail of her lips, you can fully appreciate the color.

World War II is an episode on the history of humankind that we all would like to leave behind us but, sadly, that’s impossible. And today, 75 years after this terrible period, there are pictures that help us remember how awful and cruel was the damage that Nazism perpetrated upon the world.

Czeslawa Kwoka was fourteen years old when she was taken to a concentration camp in Auschwitz. The following pictures belong to a photography project made by one of the other prisoners at the camp for the Nazi officers.

The idea behind the pictures, according to The Daily Mail, was to leave a documentary record of the prisoners taken to the camp. Here you can see how Czeslawa looked before she was hit by a prison guard and executed.

Marina Amaral

But these pictures are becoming relevant only 75 years after a Brazilian artist rescued them and restored them in color since photography back then was only in black and white since color was yet to be discovered.

And so was Czeslawa Kwoka’s short life.

Marina Amaral

Kwoka was taken from her home along with her mother in December 1942, since the Nazis “needed the space” to build a colony. They couldn’t find a better solution than moving them to Auschwitz.

The pictures show a girl at the edge of tears, her hair buzzed and a split lip. Possible after she took a beating from a prison guard.

Thanks to Marina Amaral’s work, this is how Czeslawa looks in living color.

Marina Amaral

Marina Amaral

Marina Amaral

 The man who took the pictures, Czeslawa Kwoka’s cellmate, was Willhelm Brasse, who died in 2012 and delivered the details regarding the beatings that the prisoners suffered at the hands of the camp’s guards.

In a documentary made in the year of 2005, the photographer and prisoner said the following:

“She cried, but I couldn’t do anything. Before taking the picture, the girl cleaned her tears and the blood from her split lip.” 

-Czeslawa Kwoka

Auschwitz – AP

Kwoka died on March 1943, just three months after arriving at Auschwitz. Her mother, who was also taken there, died only weeks later.

Her portrait is currently being exhibited at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.