The Nazis had plenty of side projects during World War II that got little notice compared to the genocidal system of extermination camps. One was Project Angora, Heinrich Himmler’s plan to raise angora rabbits to supply high-quality wool for the German military. At the camps.
By 1943, Project Angora had bred nearly 65,000 rabbits, producing over 10,000 pounds of wool. The photo albums shows sweaters produced for the German air force, socks produced for their navy and long underwear for ground troops. It’s hard to gauge whether or not the program was a success, but we do know that the coddled rabbits lived in close proximity to human prisoners.
The well-fed rabbits were housed in some of the Nazi regime’s most notorious concentration camps: Auschwitz, Dachau and Mauthausen, and nearly thirty more camps around central Europe. The contrast between the brutality of the camps, with their cruel disregard for human life, and the well-cared for rabbits is deeply unnerving. This jarring context makes the remnants of the program–the book found by Schultz–seem all the more sinister.
Not surprisingly, there was little evidence of the program after the war. When the SS fled the camps ahead of their liberators, evidence in the form of well-fed rabbits did not last long. Read what we know about Project Angora at Atlas Obscura. -via Digg
(Unrelated image credit: Ross Little)