The South African Air Force discovered Auschwitz extermination camp

Little known historic fact but it was a South African Air Force reconnaissance aircraft which first discovered and then photographed Auschwitz extermination camp. This is one of the aerial photos.

Mosquito XVI aircraft of No. 60 Squadron South African Air Force operating from Foggia Airfield Complex, Southern Italy in 1944, carried out detailed large-scale photographic surveys of German held areas, eventually ranging over the Alps and deep into Germany and German occupied territory.

During one of these missions in Spring 1944, a 60 Squadron’s plane piloted by Lt. C.H.H Barry and his navigator Lt. I McIntyre photographed Auschwitz when they went to photograph the rubber refinery plant next to the camp. When the photos were analyzed, they found rows of people lining up in the camp. The photos also showed chimneys and all the other characteristics of a camp for prisoners. This, with other intelligence, brought them to the conclusions that extermination camps existed.

This image is an enlargement of part of a photo of Auschwitz-Birkenau taken by the SAAF on Sortie no. 60PR/694.

Clearly seen on this image is the selection process of a recently arrived transport visible on the ramp has been completed, and those selected to die are being to taken to Crematorium II. Also visible is a cultivated garden in the courtyard of Crematorium II, the open gate into it, and Crematorium III. The basement undressing rooms and gas chambers of both complexes can also be seen.

This annotated image was released by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1979.

One thought on “The South African Air Force discovered Auschwitz extermination camp

  1. I assisted the Cape Town Holocaust Center with the original 60 Sqn photography which forms a permanent part of the display. The photographs are at the SAAF Museum AFB Ysterplaat.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s