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Auschwitz: The Forgotten Evidence

Sixty years ago, on January 27th, 1945, the Red Army liberated what was left of the Auschwitz extermination camp. Taylor Downing reveals extraordinary aerial photographs of the camp taken during the summer of 1944, which pose awkward questions about why the Allies did not act to stop the killing.


On August 23rd, 1944 a Mosquito aircraft of the 60th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron loaded up with camera and film to fly a long 1,200 mile mission over southern Poland. The aircraft was based at the recently captured Foggia airfield in south-east Italy and the use of this airfield enabled Allied photo-reconnaissance flights to cover much more of occupied Europe than had previously been possible. The mission of this flight was to photograph the I.G. Farben chemical plant near a town called Monowitz, near Krakow in southern Poland. Allied intelligence had picked up evidence that this chemical plant was being expanded in order to produce synthetic oil. As access to the oilfields and refineries of south-eastern Europe was being lost to the Germans, the production of synthetic oil was now crucial for the Nazi war machine. And destroying this petro-chemical industry was becoming a priority for the Allies.

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