2081 words, 9 pages

Intro Sample...

Tailors. Shoemakers. Farmers. Before the war, they were ordinary Jews, doing their best to succeed in a society plagued with Anti-Semitism. However, during the war, they were the Sonderkommando. One of the Holocaust’s most horrifying topics is one that few people have heard of. The word Sonderkommando means very little to the everyday American, but it is in fact one of the most gruesome and terrible subjects of the Holocaust. The Sonderkommando, or special command (German), were groups comprised of mostly Jewish prisoners. These men were tasked with aiding their Nazi captors in the extermination of their own people in the six death camps of Poland. The Sonderkommando were given a terrible choice: help or be killed. Because the... View More »

Body Sample...

The Undressing Phase was the first step in the extermination process. This was the only Sonderkommando job that dealt with living human beings. From here on out, the Sonderkommando would only have contact with bodies or ash. Under the ruse of taking a bath, prisoners were instructed to undress (Greif 12). It is important to understand the need for the Nazi’s to deceive their victims up to this point. If the victims were to know their fate, it would be very difficult to follow through with their murders. Signs were placed in the undressing room to further deceive the victims (Greif 12). Phrases like “One louse may kill you” or “Cleanliness brings freedom” were plastered on the walls in order to keep the illusion of a bathhouse (Muller 61). It was the job of the Sonderkommando to aid in this deception to keep things fluid and organized (Greif 12). Once the victims had been herded into the room, the Sonderkommando ordered the prisoners to hang their clothes neatly on numbered hooks and tie their shoes together so that they will be easy to find after the bathing process (Greif 12). Once everyone is naked, they are led to the gas chamber (Greif 13). However, not everyone is so cooperative. There are some who are jittery, or seem suspicious, and the Sonderkommando do their best to calm them (Greif 12). When asked about what was going to happen, the Sonderkommando were required to give brief, non-committal answers in order to leave things vague and not give away the real intentions of the Nazi’s (Greif 12). This was not a job that the Sonderkommando performed ...

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