Norwegian documentary focuses on Nazis’ Jewish skeleton collection

(JTA) — A Norwegian broadcaster for the first time aired footage of the room where Nazi scientists displayed the skeletons of Jews as teaching aids for race theories.

NRK 1, a public broadcaster, earlier this month aired a documentary about the 86 people whom the scientists selected to be killed and serve as display specimens at the University of Strasbourg, France, during World War II.

The footage shows the display room and the boxes in which the preserved skeletons were encased. The actual skeletons were buried a few decades ago. The film-makers said it was the first time a television crew had gained access to the former display room.

Professor August Hirt, an SS captain who served as chairman of the Reich University in Strasbourg until his suicide in 1945, tasked two researchers in 1943 to select 109 prisoners for the collection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. The prisoners were to be transported alive and murdered at the university.

He wrote to SS commander Heinrich Himmler that the university’s existing collection included specimens of many races, but no Jews. “The war in the East now offers us the opportunity to remedy this deficiency,” reads the letter, appearing in the Oct. 1 the documentary. “We are able to provide a document that illustrates that the Jewish-Bolshevik commissioners represent a disgusting but characteristic type of sub-human.”

Of the 109 prisoners selected at Auschwitz, only 86 survived the journey to Strasbourg, 29 women and 57 men.

In the documentary, NRK traced the story of one of the victims, a 17 year-old boy from Norway named Frank Sachnowitz, whose brother survived Auschwitz.