Summary ´ Sonderkommando Dans l'enfer des chambres à gaz

Sonderkommando Dans l'enfer des chambres à gaz

Shlomo Venezia ä 8 characters

Ing the revolt of October 1944 It is usual to imagine that none of those who went into the gas chambers at Auschwitz ever emerged to tell their tale but as a member of a ‘Sonderkommando' Shlomo Venezia was given this horrific privilege He knew that having witnessed the unspeakable he in turn would probably be eliminated by the SS in case he ever told his tale He survived this is his story Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum    What

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This is a uniue eye witness account of everyday life right at the heart of the Nazi extermination machine Slomo Venezia was born into a poor Jewish Italian community living in Thessaloniki Greece At first the occupying Italians protected his family; but when the Germans invaded the Venezias were deported to Auschwitz His mother and sisters disappeared on arrival and he learned at first with disbelief that they had almost certainly been gassed Given the chance to Some books

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Earn a little extra bread he agreed to become a ‘Sonderkommando' without realising what this entailed He soon found himself a member of the ‘special unit' responsible for removing the corpses from the gas chambers and burning their bodies Dispassionately he details the grim round of daily tasks evokes the terror inspired by the man in charge of the crematoria ‘Angel of Death' Otto Moll and recounts the attempts made by some of the prisoners to escape includ I am readin


About the Author: Shlomo Venezia

Shlomo Venezia was a Greek born Italian Jew He was a survivor of the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration campVenezia was born in Thessaloniki where he was arrested with his family in March 1944; they were deported to the extermination camp at Auschwitz Birkenau one of the three main camps that made up the Auschwitz complex During the selection made by Nazi doctors to separate deportees deemed fi



10 thoughts on “Sonderkommando Dans l'enfer des chambres à gaz

  1. says:

    This book contains a very important series of interviews with Shlomo Venezia who was deported with his family from Greece and sent to Auschwitz Shlomo Venezia’s family were originally of Spanish origin When Jewish citizens were expelled from Spain in 1492 his descendents arrived in Greece via Italy His Italian citizenship was important as he was fairly safe while Italians were in Greece – he was as he says an Italian ‘above a Jew’ However once the Germans arrived in Greece at the end of 1942 the deportations began Shlomo had a hard life even before the war began His father died when he was young and he had to leave school at twelve to do almost any job he could to make money for his mother and siblings Indeed the war really started for him with the Italian invasion of Albania – until then he and his neighbours had felt distanced from world events However once he arrived in Auschwitz he uickly learnt what his new reality was Jumping from the high train he turned to wait to help his mother and sisters down only to be beaten and separated from them He never saw his mother or his young sisters againOne of the reasons why this testimony is so important is that Shlomo worked in the Sonderkommando – isolated from the other prisoners and responsible for working in the Crematorium itself He is open and honest about his feelings of complicity; even though he obviously had no choice He felt sullied by death and was intimately involved in the mechanism of death He had to cut off the hair of female victims He had to unload those who arrived on trains who were unable to walk to their own death – the elderly the sick the handicapped He was approached by those asking so poignantly whether their death would hurt or how long it would take He became aware that those who arrived from the ghettos where Jewish people were imprisoned were far aware of what would happen than others One time he even had to witness his father’s cousin enter the gas chamberLike so many books about the holocaust this is a moving memoir and an important testimony With those who were there – who witnessed these events first hand – growing older we need to hear their words from themselves Shlomo Venezia was extremely brave and honest in these interviews and they are extremely moving to read


  2. says:

    I wasn’t sure how the interview format would work but it created a wonderful account better I think than if Shlomo Venezia had sat down and written the book on his own It helped that this man was able to speak in great depth; many of the passages are longThis really is his autobiography as he starts with his childhood in Greece and tells uite a bit about his early life and his family who were originally from ItalyHe’s ruthlessly honest and I appreciated that about himself about the horrendous situation to which he was subjected everything he relatesThere are 40 pages of historical notes in the back of the book divided into three sections The Shoah Auschwitz and the SonderkommandoItaly in Greece A Short History of a Major FailureAbout David OlèreThere’s also a Selected Bibliography in the backThis is an important addition to the documentation of Holocaust witnesses particularly as it relates to the Sonderkommando and I’m glad that it existsSome drawings depicting people and conditions in Auschwitz Birkenau are included and there are photos of the author and others mentioned in the book in a section in the middle of the bookThis was not an easy book to read but as I read I felt compelled to continue reading It’s not the first account I’ve read about the Sonderkommando those men who were forced to work directly with the gas chamber victims after their murders and who were themselves slated to be murdered usually after about three months of forced labor Nobody doing this work was supposed to survive as there were to be no witnesses A relative few did survive and the author was one of them The fact that he remains adversely impacted by the experience is completely understandable and I’m grateful to him for dredging up what he needed to in order to create this important document


  3. says:

    Some books are beyond ratings and stars This is one of them


  4. says:

    I am reading this as we approach Victory in Europe Day It is 75 years since the end of WWII and in the UK we are having a bank holiday to commemorate that 75 years is a long time and we will get to the point where anyone that remembers WWII first hand will be gone unfortunately and this is why we must have records like this to remember We need to understand always what went on to ensure it does not happen again Generation after generation time goes by and the past becomes blurry It needs to be accurately documented So to the book Shlomo Venezia is interviewed by Béatrice Prasuier She says ‘This account was compiled from a series of interviews I had with Shlomo Venezia in Rome with the help of the historian Marcello Pezzetti between April 13 and May 21 2006’Shlomo was born in 1923 in Salonika northern Greece which is now known Thessaloniki His family have Italian nationality The war really started for them with the invasion of Albania by Italy The Italians came into Greece and even though he and his family were Jewish they were protected by their Italian nationality Then on 08 Sep 1943 it was the end of the Italy Germany alliance Italy surrendered to the Allied forces Shlomo knew they stood no chance against the Germans Deportation was imminent Between Mar 1943 and Aug 1944 over 50000 were deported from Greece to Auschwitz He was sent to Auschwitz on 11 Apr 1944You would think that a book in interview style of A would not work but it does The uestions are short and the answers are long The uestions are not just stock uestions They do lead on from the answers given and it read like a normal factual bookI will not go into the details of his job within the Sonderkommando Special Command Unit – Special Detachment as Shlomo goes over that It is a ghastly job understatement of the century There are the haunting drawings by David Olere in the book to illustrate Shlomo’s answers He was in Auschwitz at the time of the revolt and the evacuation to Austria The book also includes ‘THE SHOAH AUSCHWITZ AND THE SONDERKOMMANDO’ by Marcello Pezzetti which goes over the process of persecution of the Jews which occurred in three phases Pezzetti is a historian and Director of the Museum of Shoah in Rome The other essay is ‘Italy in Greece A short history of a major failure’ by Umberto Gentiloni The last is ‘About David Olere’ by Jean Mouttapa


  5. says:

    The only thing that stands in the way of a 5 star rating is Schlomo Venezia's self discipline in the face of the historical method He refuses to speculate on everything he wasn't an eyewitness to His testimony to the legendary Sondernkommando uprising of '44 suffers for it but otherwise he gives incomparable insight into one of the most intruiging aspects of life in Birkenau The story of his youth in Greece touches upon a different sort of occupation dictated by the deterioration of the German Italian alliance and the obscure role of Bulgaria in the Holocaust


  6. says:

    An extremely harrowing read that takes the reader into a world of unimaginable horror A truly humbling experience I would like to thank the author for the courage shown to share this important cautionary tale of what the worse man is capable of I am an avid reader or World War II history and never has a book touched and shaken me as this one has With that in mind I am glad I did read this book an would encourage all to take the journey as well Nothing can make up for the wrongs visited upon the victims of the holocaust but we can honor them by remembering them and not forgetting the lessons learnt


  7. says:

    This is an amazing story told 60 years after the fact It's written interview style where she ask him uestions and he gives detailed answers He didn't tell his story for many years but finally felt comfortable to share his experience and I'm glad he did Not may sonderkommand's lived to tell their stories It's tragic and heart wrenching for sure A definite book for anyone interested in the Holocaust as it's a perspective that I hadn't read or understood before


  8. says:

       What perhaps makes this “easier” to read is that it is presented in an interview format – Schlomo Venezia is recounting his story and you can hear it in the translated text in how conversational it is And yet it is also just the slightest bit distant – the distance necessary to be able to recount such horrors time and time again the distance that allows one to relive it have it surround one without completely reconsuming him or her The interviewer’s uestions help direct Venezia’s story but in an unobtrusive way; often than not they seek clarification on some point or bring the previous uestion’s answer back around to another area though a couple seemed slightly pointed – but then that is not a no no either Venezia’s story itself is clear it progresses through time linearly with enough details to help you see what he saw but not so many that you feel overwhelmed by his witness   As the title says it recounts his eight months as part of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz in addition to the months and years preceding his deportation with his family As an Italian Jew living in Greece he had some protection as a result of his Italian heritage and with Italy being a German ally but it was not enough to protect him and his family from the harshness of the Reich’s pogrom They too had to struggle to survive occupation to make ends meet on the black market until they were ultimately deported His time as a Sonderkommando seems to pass uickly in the interview from the sheer amount of detail he includes the major events he recalled from the eight months as well as the day to day moments which created his time in the camps especially the ones that stuck out to him and stood out in his memory   Venezia’s story is nicely supplemented with drawings by another Sonderkommando survivor David Olère as well as several appendixes mostly of specific historical context by various other contributors Olère’s images give an easy visual to what Venezia describes though his descriptions are clear enough as it is and camp maps help show the placement of the events Venezia describes The historical summary is very informative I just wish I had had time with the book to read it slower really put it into my historical narrative that I have been building in my head with all of these diverse WWIIHolocaust readings I have done over the years Besides the footnotes scattered throughout the book noting works for further reading there was also a decent sized bibliography at the end as well for those who wish to delve deeper into different areastopics brought up over the course of Venezia’s story   Venezia is one of the very few Sonderkommando who survived to tell their story after WWII and it is a story and a history very much worth the read It illuminates so much of what went on “behind the scenes” so to speak and clearly rejects any possibility of Holocaust denial – here is the undeniable and irrefutable proof that so many people died and how they could seem to merely vanish in such a short time The Nazi concentration camp machine was effective to say the least in its mission of mass murder and the covering up of the murders and the Sonderkommando were the ones who directly saw the process of countless people going in to gas chambers their corpses being taken out for ordered scavenging and then burning the corpses and grinding up the bones to all but eliminate the evidence of the Nazi crimes in the camps This is the hidden side of the story the one that was never meant to make it out of the camps but thanks to people such as Venezia who were lucky and clever enough to survive for there is an element of cleverness of gauging the situation and making a split second life saving decision it can be heard and read by countless numbers of people so that maybe just maybe it will never happen againuotes   People kept on hoping that if they did what they were told they’d be spared The reality was the complete opposite – page 23   view spoilerUpon watching the newly dead body But on seeing the body burning I thought the dead were perhaps luckier than the living; they were no longer forced to endure this hell on earth to see the cruelty of men – page 62   I’d never been religious – not even a believer I always found that respecting the Ten Commandments was enough for me In Birkenau I never asked myself this uestion; since I wasn’t religious I left God out of all that But I couldn’t understand why they continued to call on him “ Adonai Adonai” “Lord Lord” What were they thinking? That Adonai was going to save them? What an idea We were all living beings in the process of crossing the frontier into death – page 100   Unlike me my brother has never wanted to recount his experience to schoolchildren But I think it’s precisely for this – because it is so completely unimaginable – that those people who can tell their story must do so Those of us in the Sonderkommando may have had better conditions of day to day survival; we weren’t as cold we had to eat suffered less violence – but we had seen the worst we were in it all day long at the heart of hell – page 103   It comforts me to know that I’m not talking in a vacuum since bearing witness exacts a huge sacrifice It reawakens a nagging pain that never leaves me Everything’s going fine and then all of a sudden I’m in despair As soon as I feel a little joy something inside me closes up and immediately It’s like an inner flaw; I call it “survivors’ disease” It’s not typhus tuberculosis or the other diseases that people sometimes caught It’s a disease that gnaws away at us from within and destroys any feeling of joy I have been dragging it about with me ever since I spent that time suffering in the camp This disease never leaves me a moment of joy or carefree happiness; it’s a mood that forever erodes my strength – page 154 hide spoiler


  9. says:

    Just like my Native American books everyone should read this book It is not for the faint of heart Just knowig that Shlomo got out alive after all the atrocities he had to endure and what he had to do in the gas chambers is unreal It's very sad and I just can not understand all of the evil in the world It's so much worse than we will ever know


  10. says:

    This is by far the hardest book I have ever read I almost gave up at one point but what kept me going was my wanting to find out how the author escaped to tell this important but horrific story The details are very graphic and I think what surprized me most was that the gass that was used in the extermination of so many innocent lives including women children and even babies was not one that leant itself to a humane death at all I also hadn't thought about the magnitude of disposing of so many bodies I was left feeling ashamed to even belong to the same species as these cruel perpetrators However I am still glad I read this first hand account because now I know


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