At the height of the extermination process in Auschwitz-Birkenau, 23 young female prisoners were saved from the gas chambers to design, sew and cut beautiful clothes for the Nazis. The SS guards and officers’ wives patronised a fashion workshop established by Hedwig Hoss, the Commandant’s wife, within the infamous concentration camp complex. In this workshop – known as the Upper Tailoring Studio – high-quality garments taken from the suitcases of murdered deportees were fitted for their new owners. This skilled work was carried out by prisoners – all women or teenage girls, many of them Jewish – who wielded needles to survive the gas chambers. Until recently, relatively little has been known about these 23 seamstresses. The Dressmakers of Auschwitz tells their extraordinary life stories, drawing on previously unpublished testimonies and photographs, including an exclusive interview with the only living survivor.
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