Humanities & Social Sciences
The Sonderkommando and the process of learning
Author: Richard Prystowsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 19:14:20 +0000
Reply-To: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust
Sender: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust
I recall one survivor telling one of my classes that
there was no living or dying in Auschwitz (he survived
Birkenau), because there was no life or death there as we
He also mentioned that, at one point, he had heard a
rumor that, before going into the gas chamber, the victim
was given a good meal (in light of current practices
involving state executions in this country, this rumor is
quite provocative and frightening). He presented himself
at the next selection as someone unfit for further work.
He asked to be taken away. Fortunately--or unfortunately,
as he might well say, depending upon how on a given day
he thinks about his survival (I know him rather well and
have discussed this topic with him a number of
times)--the doctor refused to send him to the gas
Paraphrase, with some exact quotes here:
"You mean that you wanted to die?" asked a
"You see? You just can't possibly hope to
understand--and that's not your fault. It isn't that I
wanted to die. I just wanted to have a good meal."
"You cannot imagine how it feels to be so hungry,"
this survivor told me once during an "official"
He's right. So how do I hear his words? I begin by
trying to hear them.
Acting Dean, School of Humanities and Languages
Irvine Valley College
5500 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92620 949-451-5336
From: John Freund <email@example.com>
February 11, 1999
I do not believe the story of a meal being served to
those to die in the gaschamber. This is utter nonsense.
And even those terribly hungry, never would prefer death.
Besides, those working Sonderkommandos always had enough
to eat. I was "living" in a barrack next to the SK in
Birkenau, with about 80 boys my age ( 14 ) and we sneaked
into their barrack at night to get some food. This was
Does anyone have an idea, how the thousands could have
been fed a meal before dying?
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