Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Erich Hackl's Three Tearless Histories

Brasse could have coped with the daily routine. The countless police photos. Cap off, look straight ahead, turn left etc. But they, not counting the private ones, were not the only photographs demanded of him. Soon after the first mass convoys of Jews had arrived in Auschwitz he was forced to record the pseudo-medical experiments of the SS doctors Josef Mengele and Eduard Wirths in pictures. Wirths, who had taken it into his head to develop a method of early diagnosis of cancer of the cervix, even had a gynecological chair brought into the studio, in which women were compelled to undergo colposcopical investigations. The camera was lurking between the stirrups and behind it Brasse's eye. Mengele, on the other hand, was after people of restricted growth—brothers and sisters, sets of twins, children—whom he subjected to terrible mutilations. The third, Friedrich Entress, had a pathological passion for unusual tattoos, which he cut out of his victims' bodies and kept in an album; but first of all Brasse had to photograph them on the person while they were still alive. Johannes Kramer, fourthly, wanted to have all the phases of starvation documented; he would send emaciated prisoners to Brasse, who knew that immediately afterward they would be killed with an injection of poison.

Sometimes he tried to delay their death. In such cases he would claim that the photos hadn't come out satisfactorily and had to be done again. On the other hand he sometimes tried to shorten their sufferings, because they were beyond help anyway. For example two of his neighbors from Źywiec called Enoch and Wachsberger (Wachsberger had kept the inn on the station square), who were getting weaker and weaker by the day, even though he had for a long time made an effort to feed them. When it became clear to him that they were lost, he asked a prisoner from Block II, a killer called Wacław Rudzki, who was as accomplished as he was nasty, to bring their lives to a swift, painless end. By a blow with the edge of the hand on the carotid artery or a sudden twist of the head, a broken neck.