Cover of "Angora." The cover of the album is of woven rabbit wool bore. The two Sig Runes included on the cover were the insignia of the Schutzstaffel (SS).
Sigrid Schultz, former Chicago Tribune Berlin correspondent, presented her papers to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1965. The collection included a heavy photo album, 15 by 13 inches, with one word on its grey cover — Angora. More tellingly — the cover also included the runic lightning flashes of the Nazi SS. The album is covered in woven angora wool and dedicated to Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and one of the most ruthless Nazi leaders. He oversaw a vast empire of secret police, slave labor, and death camps.
The Angora rabbit project was an SS-administered program to breed rabbits for their soft, warm fur, one use of which was to line the jackets of Luftwaffe pilots. The rabbits were raised in luxury not far from the maltreated prisoners in 31 Nazi concentration camps in Germany, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau. The project was a showpiece for visiting dignitaries, as well as a constant reminder to prisoners of how little their lives were valued.
Sigrid Schultz cited a Himmler speech as clear evidence of Nazi attitudes that led to loving care for rabbits and extermination for humans. Himmler told an audience on October 4, 1943:
Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only insofar as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough or heartless, when it is not necessary; that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will assume a decent attitude towards these human animals; but it is a crime against our blood to worry about them.
Map of Concentration Camps in Germany - 1943.
Rabbit hutches at Thorn concentration camp in Germany. Text on page says "Muster-und Lehrstation Thorn."
Rabbit hutches at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.
Rabbit hutches at Dachau concentration camp.
This page documents the development of the angora rabbit for the years of 1941, along with the number of "6500"; 1942, along with the number "13000"; and 1943, along with the number "25000." The page is titled "Die Entwicklung des Tierbestandes."
Three angora rabbits.
Adult and young angora rabbits sitting in their hutches.
Woman feeding angora rabbits in their hutches.
Two animal keepers caring for angora rabbit on examination table and medical instruments. Text on the page says, "Tierpflege."
Woman shearing angora rabbit on table. The rabbit is shown in various stages of being shaved, and there is also a group of woman shearing rabbits on a long table. A chart on the wall says, "Schurtermin."
Angora rabbit fur production. A man and woman are standing near bags of angora wool to be delivered to the Reichs wool manufacturing company. Text on page says, "Ablieferung der Angorawolle an die Reichswollverwertung."
Angora wool production for the years 1941-1943. There are drawings of a submarine, airplane, and soldier, as well as photographs showing the clothing made out of angora wool. Text on page says, "Gesamtertrag 1941-1943, 4730 kg, Angora-Wolle, davon konnten erzeugt werden."