Dog tag of an SS camp garrison member in the Collections of the Memorial
A dog tag belonging to one of the SS camp garrison members at the Auschwitz German Nazi concentration and extermination camp has been donated to the Auschwitz Memorial. It is the second item of this kind in the Museum's Collection.
Tomasz Karasek donated the dog tag through the Polish Embassy in Copenhagen. The original item was presented to the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, Piotr M. A. Cywiński, PhD, at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport on 21 June, in the presence of Ms Paulina Florjanowicz, the Department's Director.
The dog tag with the inscription "SS T.Stuba K.L. Auschwitz / 816" donated to the Museum belonged to one of the over 8,000 members of the Auschwitz SS camp garrison.
One half of the dog tag had two holes for attaching a string or metal chain, enabling it to be hung around the neck. In the event of the demise of its bearer, this half remained on the corpse. After being broken off, the other half was given to a superior officer, e.g., the company commander.
− Such museum pieces are tough to come by. One can imagine that after the war, the SS camp garrison members at the first convenient moment removed signs that might have revealed their previous affiliation to the group of criminals. I am all the more grateful to Mr Tomasz Karasek for tracking down this dog tag and donating it to our Collection. It is worth noting that so far, we have had only one object of this type, - said Museum Director Piotr Cywiński.
To fully understand the history of this horrible place and the mechanisms that led to it, we must share the stories of the people who believed in the criminal ideology and became perpetrators of the crime. Consequently, I would like to reiterate our appeal to donate documents, photographs, private letters, or any other materials relating to the SS camp garrison. We are in dire need today of new sources for a complete picture of the history of Auschwitz and the Holocaust, - Piotr Cywiński stated.
According to various estimates, the SS camp garrison at KL Auschwitz numbered about 700 members in 1941, 2,000 in June 1942, and 3,000 in August 1944; however, in August 1944, there were about 3,000 SS men and female SS supervisors. The highest number was recorded in mid-January 1945, in connection with the final evacuation of KL Auschwitz and totalled 4,480 SS men and 71 female SS supervisors. However, approximately 8100-8200 SS men and 200 women supervisors served in KL Auschwitz as camp garrison members over its entire existence.