Inside the Gas Chambers : Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz
by Shlomo Venezia
Editor: Polity Press
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This is unique, eyewitness account of daily life at the heart of the Nazi extermination of the machineSlomo Venezia was born in a poor Jewish-Italian community living in Thessaloniki, Greece.At first sight, the Italian occupants protected his family; but when the Germans invaded, the Venezias were deported to AuschwitzHis mother and sisters disappeared on arrival, and he learned, at first with disbelief, that they had almost certainly been gassed.Given the chance to win some extra bread, he agreed to become a Sonderkommando’, without realizing what it involvedHe soon found himself a member of the special unit “responsible for removing the corpses from the gas chamber and burning their bodiesColdly, he details the sinister turn of tasks of daily life, evokes the terror inspired by the man in charge of the crematoria, the Angel of Death ” Otto Moll, and tells of the attempts made by some of the prisoners to escape, including the revolt of October 1944It is usual to imagine that none of those who went into the gas chambers of Auschwitz ever emerged to tell their story – but, as a member of a’Sonderkommando’, Shlomo Venezia gave this horrible privilegeHe knew that, having witnessed the unspeakable, in turn, he would surely be eliminated by the SS in the event that he ever told his accountHe survived: it’s his storyPublished in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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