Table of contents
The need of sonderkommandos
The work of the sonderkommandos
Revolts within the camps
When one thinks of concentration camps, the link to the gas chambers will be made without difficulties. However, do people really know how they worked and who where needed to let these killing machines function? The answer is no, some can still tell how the gas chambers worked, but barely anyone knows who worked inside them and that they had to abide the most horrific events that took place in the second world war. This paper is dedicated to those who we don’t know about, the ones we would rather know nothing of, the ones who can never be forgotten. In order to understand what really happened inside these sonderkommandos and their highly unusual workplace, it is vital to obtain some knowledge about the Nazis and their ‘final solution’ first. This paper will try to give a clear overview of the road towards the implementation of the gas chambers, the life of the people that lived inside of these sonderkommandos, the uprise that took place within the sonderkommando of Auschwitz Birkenau, known survivors from sonderkommandos, and the aftermath. There is barely any information available about this topic, I tried to use as many different sources as possible. There are some testimonies made about some of the survivors filmed by the SHOAH foundation, which can be found on Youtube. Some other survivors have written down their story in books, and others drew pictures of the events that they witnessed. All of these sources where extremely important in the creation of this paper because the Nazis never documented anything of these events that took place within the gas chambers. Their primary goal was to extinguish all evidence created around their ‘final solution’ of the non Aryans. This paper will mostly be focused on Auschwitz and its sonderkommando, since most information available is from this camp.
The need for sonderkommandos
Before explaining what the sonderkommandos did and how they operated it is necessary to explain why they were needed. There will be an explanation from the political point of view as well as the invention of the gas chamber. Politics
After the first world war, Germany was forced to oblige to the Versailles treaty. This treaty stated that Germany and its allies were fully responsible for the damage and losses during the first world war. This resulted in paying a high sum of money namely, 132 billion marks for reparations, it lost around 20 percent of its territory and it had to minimize the army. The German population was devastated by this treaty but they never saw it as official. During the Weimar government Germany experienced hyperinflation which was the effect of the Versailles treaty, this was the first time that Hitler tried to get the power in Germany in November 1923, however, it failed but it made him and his party the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) known with the public. Hitler got arrested for his attempt and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, he got out within one year. While he was in jail he wrote his infamous book ‘Mein Kampf’, in this book he describes his view on the Versailles treaty, the Jews and other minorities, the superiority of the Aryan race, and that Germany needs more territory for the Aryans. Hitler on the cover of his book, Mein Kampf
During the elections of 1932 the NSDAP won a significant amount of seats in the Reichstag, it rose from 107 to 230, and it became the largest political party with 37,4...
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