a:144:{s:6:"submit";s:6:"Submit";s:20:"submittedTime_string";s:23:"2010-3-23 3:27:13pm PDT";s:23:"linksCheckedTime_string";s:23:"2010-3-23 3:27:13pm PDT";s:18:"student_name_first";s:5:"Karla";s:17:"student_name_last";s:7:"Oropeza";s:19:"student_essay_title";s:58:"“Sonderkommando's Struggle to Escape the Crematorium ”";s:22:"book_author_name_first";s:8:"Beatrice";s:21:"book_author_name_last";s:7:"Paquier";s:23:"book_authors_additional";s:14:"Shlomo Venezia";s:15:"book_title_main";s:23:"Inside the Gas Chambers";s:14:"book_title_sub";s:47:"Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz";s:21:"book_publication_city";s:13:"Cambridge, UK";s:26:"book_publication_publisher";s:12:"Polity Press";s:21:"book_publication_year";s:4:"2009";s:16:"book_pages_count";s:3:"200";s:20:"book_ucsb_callNumber";s:18:"D805.5.B57; V4613 ";s:14:"book_link_text";s:10:"Amazon.com";s:13:"book_link_url";s:97:"http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Gas-Chambers-Sonderkommando-Auschwitz/dp/0745643833/fileformatnet-20";s:23:"book_cover_image_source";s:4:"file";s:20:"book_cover_image_url";s:7:"http://";s:13:"student_about";s:380:"I am a graduating senior with a major in Spanish and double minor in History and Latin & Iberian Studies. I have been interested in the Holocaust and World War II since middle school after reading various books on the Holocaust. My curiosity expanded from then on and I continued doing my own personal research while taking classes focused on the examination of that time period.";s:22:"student_essay_abstract";s:553:"Beatrice Paquier retells Shlomo Venezia’s experience during the Holocaust from the beginning to end and how he managed to survive by becoming a Sonderkommando. Paquier mainly asks about Shlomo’s experience as a Sonderkommando and how he was able to cope with a constant reminder of what the Nazi SS guards were capable of doing. Shlomo expands on several incidents that touched him and reminded him of the emotions he so desperately evaded while doing his duty. Shlomo may have survived the war but he never survived his experience in crematoriums. ";s:13:"student_essay";s:13244:"How does witnessing death and violence on a daily basis create a demoralized personality and a docile environment in hopes of surviving just another day? Do they become collaborators in the vicious acts that they take part in? How does it affect them later in life? Shlomo Venezia’s, experiences are a testimony of someone who understands the reality of the situation but lose the horror of it all.Venezia and his fellow Sonderkommandos became so desensitized to violence and death through their daily work in the crematoria that they were no longer affected by the horrors around them during their time as Sonderkommandos. However they faced negative emotional consequences later in life. Beatrice Prasquire and Shlomo Venezia's Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Month in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz is a recollection of his time in Auschwitz, but most importantly his experience as a Sonderkommando. Inside the Gas Chambers begins with Venezia's family life before their deportation to Auschwitz.The Venezia family consisted of three daughters, Shlomo and his older brother. The family was considered to be Italian citizens who had settled in Salonika, Greece. He explains how at an early age he began to work and also developed a skill for bargaining that would later become essential. Throughout his life in Greece as an Italian Jew, Venezia recounts that Jews of Italian descent were able to send their children to Italian school instead of Jewish schools. He recalls the differences that his family, being of Italian descent, had compared to others who were of Greek descent. Racial tensions before World War II were uncommon until the invasion of Albania by the Italian Army. Venezia, speculates the reason the Germans were able to deport the Jewish population from Greece was that “[we] were so hungry and had so many problems with our own lives that we didn't have time to wonder about the future” and that “[we] didn't really realize what was happening”(9). The bombing of Salonika by the the Italy caused tension in the city. After Salonika was bombed Italians citizens regardless of being Jewish or non-Jewish were rounded up as suspects of spying for the Italian military. As the Greek army tried to fend off the Italian forces, the German army entered Greece from the north to help the Italians as their part of their alliance(11). “Baron Hirsch” as it was called by the Greek citizens,was a ghetto set up by the German army for the Greek Jewish population was similar to the ghettos imposed in Poland. Venezia and his family were not forced to live in the ghetto as a result of his Italian citizenship. When the German army entered Greece, Venezia and his family were safe from harms way because of their Italian citizenship and the protection of the Italian government until the alliance between Germany and Italy ended. When the Germans changed their focus to Italian Jews,leaders of Italian Jewish families were given a choice by the Italian consul to “be transferred to Athens, which was still under Italian administration, or of being sent by boat to Sicily... So they decided, in the name of all of us, to go to Athens. Unfortunately, this choice meant death for virtually all of us”(13). Venezia recalls that in July of 1943 they were deported by train to Athens under the protection of Italian soldiers. Once they reached Athens his family was placed in a school with other families who were unable to rent an apartment. This however all changed on September 8, 1943. September 8, 1943 marked the end of the Italian and German alliance, but also marked the end of being an Italian citizen and the beginning of being classified as a Jew. After September 8 began the registration of the Jewish population in Athens and removal of the Italian soldiers from Athens. In March of 1944 marked the beginning of Shlomo's journey to Auschwitz and his initiation to death. That Friday morning he and his older brother went to the synagogue to register as they did every Friday beginning on January or February 1944. This Friday, however, was different, as they were forced into trucks after waiting for all the men to arrive for registration. After being forced onto trucks they arrived at platforms and were told to join the rest of their families so that they could be given a home based on the number of members per family. They were forced into carriages and packed tightly like animals. The carriages contained a simple window that later had barbed wire added to the outside, a large can in the middle and a bucket of water. They lost hope to escape after the barbed wire was installed. The conditions of the carriages made its “passengers” or victims “even more oppressed, stifled and humiliated” after the addition of the barbed wire (27). The humiliation intensified once they arrived at Auschwitz. Once the train came to a halt its doors opened onto the Judernrampe, the ramp of Auschwitz, where they were greeted by “sub-machine guns and Alsatians barking at us.” While trying to wait for his mother, Venezia was greeted with two heavy blows from a German soldier and forced to the men’s side, as he recollected “our captors starting hitting people as soon as we arrived.” He contemplates some of the reasoning behind the violent welcome as a way to gain obedience through fear and “loss of bearings.” The tactics were successful in maintaining prisoners in line without making movements for fear of being beaten or killed. After the initial separation the men were once again forced to assemble in a line to be separated into smaller groups. The men who were directed to the left had a similar fate as Venezia's mother and two younger sisters, the gas chambers. After the second selection, they bore witness to more humiliation, causing him “to expect only the worse.” Venezia's situation continued to worsen with learning the fate of his mother and two younger sisters, becoming unrecognizable to his brother and being reduced to 182727; but the worst was yet to come (41). After three weeks in the quarantine area in Birkenau (Auschwitz II) with overcrowding and adjusting to the cruel Kapo, German officers arrived and eight people including Venezia, his brother and cousins were chosen. The following day, they had better living conditions but became witnesses to the horror of the gas chambers. Venezia was not aware of what his job would entail but he “didn't much care.” If he was able to survive and eat it did not matter in that moment, or so he thought. As he learned of the “luxuries” he would be given he began to wonder what he was going to be doing. He learned from a fellow prisoner that the job was special because they would be working in “the Crematorium... where the people are burned.” Venezia's understanding of camp was turned upside down as he learned “that the corpses to be burned were those of people who were still alive when they entered the Crematorium ”(54). Not only would his job force him to face the horrible truth, it would also guarantee his death, as Sonderkommando members were kept isolated from other prisoners and boer witness to the horrible truth in the gas chambers. An unimaginable and incomprehensible reality that Venezia and his fellow Sonderkommandos had to participate on a daily basis that it no longer registered. Venezia's initiation to the Sonderkommando was irrational, as their first assignment they were to clear the weeds near the crematorium. Only through curiosity and a window did Venezia see the severity of his future. “Paralyzed by what I saw. Bodies heaped up thrown on top of one another, were just lying there...” he did not dare to wonder what occurred to them, naively overlooking the truth he had learned the prior day, the remains were “leftovers” of those chosen in a previous arrival (56). Still in disbelief of what he had seen, that afternoon he witnessed the “leftovers” as he cut their hair off and undressed them before they were sent to the ovens. That night he would witness to the procedure that would ultimately lead to the death of thousands of Jews. Venezia describes the undressing room as a place of “fear and dread” masked by false pretense of disinfection, but the SS guards “lost respect for the human person,” they lied so the process would be calmer. The ability to dehumanize the victims of the Holocaust allowed acts of violence for personal enjoyment and complete disregard of lives. Venezia had to adjust to what he was going to face on a daily basis; his first week he could not eat nor sleep because of the horrors he encountered. The idea of touching the corpses repelled him and his fellow Sonderkommando. They would use the walking sticks of the elderly to drag the corpses to the ovens. The horror of these moments weighed heavily on him not only because of how each victim had “a forced death, difficult and experienced differently by each of them,” that touching the bodies was made even more difficult. But also how the different victims' bodies reacted to their cruel death, “people whose eyes hung out of their sockets, others bleed from everywhere, others were soiled in their own excrements or that of others...while some victims were red, others very pale as everyone reacted differently. But they had all suffered in death” that made the experience difficult (64). Venezia explains that at one point, one no longer registers what they see or do and the movements become mechanical in order to survive, but still have an affect on the person later on. Sonderkommandos became robots, acting out mechanically the tasks they were given seeming almost unaffected by their actions, and losing their humanity in the process, it could be said. Unable to be touched by the horror around them they were accused of becoming willing participants or collaborators in the killing of their fellow man by some. Venezia argued “we were forced, whereas collaborators, in general, are volunteers… Those who refused were immediately killed with a bullet through the back of the neck…we could no longer reason with our brains and think about what was happening…we’d become robots”(102). Venezia, emphasized “the German’s did the killing.” There were constant day and night shifts “It was continuous, uninterrupted process” as he saw it. The process desensitized them to the cruelty that their fellow prisoners endured , though “in spite of everything, we were touched, and affected...” on several occasions (99). Venezia details two incidents that affected the Sonderkommandos during their time in Crematorium II. The first was an incident involving a woman and her son who managed to hide before entering the Crematorium and later pleaded with the Sonderkommandos to help her, then the SS guard told her everything would be fine and proceeded to shoot her and her son in the back of the neck once their backs were turned; the second incident was the shock of finding a baby girl alive after opening the gas chamber doors, later to be killed by the SS guard. Venezia also witnessed a heartbreaking moment for some Sonderkommando, seeing a family member enter the undressing before entering the gas chamber. For Venezia this came in the form of his father's cousin, Leon Venezia. Leon, had recognized Venezia once he entered the undressing room and begged for his help in trying to convince the guard to spare him. The SS guard’s lack of sympathy was apparent as Venezia's efforts to save his uncle were futile. He tried to comfort his uncle by taking him by the arm as “he continued to asking me questions that I found upsetting: How long does it take to dies? Does it really hurt? I didn't know what to tell him, so I lied” in hopes of calming his fears (107). Before entering they said their goodbyes and hugged, Venezia could not bear witness to the opening of the doors; he and his brother said a prayer for him before they burned his body. These incidents remained sealed within Venezia and weighed heavily on his post- Auschwitz life. Venezia details how he and his fellow Sonderkommando were able to escape death, by integrating themselves into the evacuation marches. During his wait for liberation Venezia’s frustration, humiliation, anger, and sorrow were triggered by a German soldier's assault, he cried that night for everything that he felt. For Venezia, the ability to discuss what he witnessed was difficult and took forty-seven years for him to tell his story. He was unable to visit Auschwitz until forty-seven years after, during the tour of the camp he was angered by the guides: “They didn’t take all the groups to Birkenau and presented history as if everything had happened in Auschwitz I.” He wanted to tell the entire story of Auschwitz and of Sonderkammando duties. Venezia also relates how his duties ruined life by creating a constant horror from what he had seen in the crematoriums. The repressed effects from the mechanical actions became a constant component in his life. Venezia’s reasoning is that “Nobody ever really gets out of the Crematorium”(155). It becames engraved in his mind and a part of him. ";s:13:"bookReviews_0";s:0:"";s:21:"bookReviews_0_include";s:2:"on";s:20:"bookReviews_0_author";s:119:"Jeff Rutherford, Review of Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz, by Shlomo Venezia";s:19:"bookReviews_0_title";s:8:"H-German";s:30:"bookReviews_0_publication_info";s:30:"H-Net Reviews. October, 2009. ";s:23:"bookReviews_0_link_text";s:49:"http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25247";s:22:"bookReviews_0_link_url";s:49:"http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25247";s:24:"bookReviews_0_annotation";s:723:"The reviewer comments on the ability to turn a story of cruelty and dehumanization into a compelling tale of its psychological effects on those who bore witness to the crematorium. The reviewer praises Venezia's emphasis on his description of the violent behavior and the reasoning behind it under the Axis Powers. The reviewer calls the volume on Venezia both fascinating and disturbing. He however dismissed the articles attached at the end as being unable to capture the intensity of the tale before hand. The reviewer critics the historical article by Marcello Pezzetti, as lacking important dates and only providing an overview of the Holocaust without providing much insight into Auschwitz or the Sonderkammandos.";s:13:"bookReviews_1";s:0:"";s:21:"bookReviews_1_include";s:2:"on";s:20:"bookReviews_1_author";s:65:"Steve Goddard, Review of Inside the Gas Chamber by Shlomo Venezia";s:19:"bookReviews_1_title";s:13:" History Wire";s:30:"bookReviews_1_publication_info";s:17:"January 16, 2010.";s:23:"bookReviews_1_link_text";s:74:"http://www.historywire.com/2010/01/book-alert-inside-the-gas-chambers.html";s:22:"bookReviews_1_link_url";s:74:"http://www.historywire.com/2010/01/book-alert-inside-the-gas-chambers.html";s:24:"bookReviews_1_annotation";s:384:"The reviewer begins by saying, “Few go to Hell and live to tell about it;” as he describes Shlomo's experience as a Sonderkommando. The reviewer focuses on the how the experience has never left Shlomo after all these years, having a lasting impact. Emphasizing his survival as a victory within itself as many Sonderkommandos were systematically killed after fulling their duties. ";s:13:"bookReviews_2";s:0:"";s:20:"bookReviews_2_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:19:"bookReviews_2_title";s:0:"";s:30:"bookReviews_2_publication_info";s:0:"";s:23:"bookReviews_2_link_text";s:0:"";s:22:"bookReviews_2_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:24:"bookReviews_2_annotation";s:0:"";s:13:"bookReviews_3";s:0:"";s:20:"bookReviews_3_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:19:"bookReviews_3_title";s:0:"";s:30:"bookReviews_3_publication_info";s:0:"";s:23:"bookReviews_3_link_text";s:0:"";s:22:"bookReviews_3_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:24:"bookReviews_3_annotation";s:0:"";s:13:"bookReviews_4";s:0:"";s:20:"bookReviews_4_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:19:"bookReviews_4_title";s:0:"";s:30:"bookReviews_4_publication_info";s:0:"";s:23:"bookReviews_4_link_text";s:0:"";s:22:"bookReviews_4_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:24:"bookReviews_4_annotation";s:0:"";s:18:"booksAndArticles_0";s:0:"";s:26:"booksAndArticles_0_include";s:2:"on";s:25:"booksAndArticles_0_author";s:12:"Gideon Grief";s:24:"booksAndArticles_0_title";s:78:"We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz";s:35:"booksAndArticles_0_publication_info";s:74:"(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 381. UCSB: D804.195 .G7213 2005 ";s:28:"booksAndArticles_0_link_text";s:0:"";s:27:"booksAndArticles_0_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:29:"booksAndArticles_0_annotation";s:563:"This book is compiled from various interviews with the few surviving Sonderkommando. The book is originally written in Hebrew but has been translated into English. The author focused on Sonderkommando from Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. The book not only focuses on the on their jobs in the gas chambers but also the moral conflicts that they faced. The author acknowledges the difficulty in re-creating the conditions in Auschwitz. The author also is able to demonstrates the internal conflict is present and continues long after the experience ends. ";s:18:"booksAndArticles_1";s:0:"";s:26:"booksAndArticles_1_include";s:2:"on";s:25:"booksAndArticles_1_author";s:15:"Herman Langbein";s:24:"booksAndArticles_1_title";s:19:"People in Auschwitz";s:35:"booksAndArticles_1_publication_info";s:90:"(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina press, 2004), 549. UCSB: D805.5.A96 L3613 2004 ";s:28:"booksAndArticles_1_link_text";s:0:"";s:27:"booksAndArticles_1_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:29:"booksAndArticles_1_annotation";s:679:"This book was written by a political prisoner in Auschwitz who was able to see the unseen. His book is an analytical view of the actions that were taking place in Auschwitz. Langbein begins by stating that those who experienced Auschwitz have a bias reflected in their memories of Auschwitz. Each experience holds a different perspective for different individuals, a guards recollections of Auschwitz may be a contradiction of a prisoner. Langbein decides to examine Auschwitz with an objective and analytical perspective without personal bias. He also documents the horrific tasks that were required of the Sonderkommandos during their daily tasks of clearing the gas chambers. ";s:18:"booksAndArticles_2";s:0:"";s:26:"booksAndArticles_2_include";s:2:"on";s:25:"booksAndArticles_2_author";s:14:"Rebecca Fromer";s:24:"booksAndArticles_2_title";s:58:"The Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando";s:35:"booksAndArticles_2_publication_info";s:75:"(Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 1993), 151. UCSB: D805.P7 B424 ";s:28:"booksAndArticles_2_link_text";s:0:"";s:27:"booksAndArticles_2_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:29:"booksAndArticles_2_annotation";s:410:"This book focuses on Daniel Bennahmias remarkable journey from Greece to Birkenau, and his experience as a Sonderkommando during his youth. The author examines the emotional impact that being part of the Sonderkommando had on his youth. His acceptance of his duties as his only means for survival. Bennahmias tells his horrific story from his arrival to Auschwitz until his liberation in Ebensee by the allies.";s:18:"booksAndArticles_3";s:0:"";s:26:"booksAndArticles_3_include";s:2:"on";s:25:"booksAndArticles_3_author";s:91:"Nathan Cohen, "Diaries of the 'Sonderkommandos' in Auschwitz; Coping with Fate and Reality"";s:24:"booksAndArticles_3_title";s:18:"Yad Vashem Studies";s:35:"booksAndArticles_3_publication_info";s:18:"20, (1990) 273-312";s:28:"booksAndArticles_3_link_text";s:0:"";s:27:"booksAndArticles_3_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:29:"booksAndArticles_3_annotation";s:241:"This article examines the lives of Sonderkommando in Auschwitz and how they struggled to cope to with their daily tasks. The in depth analysis of their of daunting tasks and how closely they were guarded and isolated from others in the camp.";s:18:"booksAndArticles_4";s:0:"";s:25:"booksAndArticles_4_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:24:"booksAndArticles_4_title";s:0:"";s:35:"booksAndArticles_4_publication_info";s:0:"";s:28:"booksAndArticles_4_link_text";s:0:"";s:27:"booksAndArticles_4_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:29:"booksAndArticles_4_annotation";s:0:"";s:10:"websites_0";s:0:"";s:18:"websites_0_include";s:2:"on";s:17:"websites_0_author";s:37:"Jacqueline Shields, "Sonderkommando,"";s:16:"websites_0_title";s:23:"Jewish Virtual Library ";s:27:"websites_0_publication_info";s:33:"Last revised: February 22, 2005 ";s:20:"websites_0_link_text";s:73:"http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Sonderkommando.html";s:19:"websites_0_link_url";s:73:"http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Sonderkommando.html";s:21:"websites_0_annotation";s:577:"This website briefly describes the conditions and work that was required of the Sonderkommando in their daily duties. Their daily duties included:removing corpses from gas chambers, sorting through suitcases, packages and other items. The website also describes some of the benefits to being part of Sonderkommando in different extermination camps.For example in Auschwitz, Sonderkommandos' slept on straw mattresses and were provided with adequate food and able to wear normal clothing. The website also suggest several motives for participation in the Sonderkommando units. ";s:10:"websites_1";s:0:"";s:18:"websites_1_include";s:2:"on";s:17:"websites_1_author";s:10:"Chris Webb";s:16:"websites_1_title";s:70:"“Sonderkommando Revolt – Auschwitz – Birkenau, 7 October 1944”";s:27:"websites_1_publication_info";s:18:"Last revised: 2009";s:20:"websites_1_link_text";s:63:"http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/sonderevolt.html";s:19:"websites_1_link_url";s:63:"http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/sonderevolt.html";s:21:"websites_1_annotation";s:492:"This website traces the footsteps of the Sonderkommando unit in Auschwitz. It discusses the measures that were taken to keep the members of the Sonderkommando isolated from the rest of the camps. The website focuses on the revolt that occurred in Birkenau at the end of June 1944 by members of the Sonderkommando units. The website contains recollections and diary members that were in Birkenau during the rebellion. The website also contains recollections by surviving leaders of the revolt.";s:10:"websites_2";s:0:"";s:18:"websites_2_include";s:2:"on";s:17:"websites_2_author";s:12:"Ronit Roccas";s:16:"websites_2_title";s:68:""'We Did the Dirty Work of the Holocaust': Sonderkommando Auschwitz"";s:27:"websites_2_publication_info";s:39:"hagalil.com (Last revised: May 4,2008 )";s:20:"websites_2_link_text";s:50:"http://www.hagalil.com/shoah/holocaust/greif-0.htm";s:19:"websites_2_link_url";s:50:"http://www.hagalil.com/shoah/holocaust/greif-0.htm";s:21:"websites_2_annotation";s:355:"This website discusses Sonderkommando and the myth that none survived. The website details the work and environment that they were facing through personal accounts of former Sonderkommando who managed to survive the war. The website also discusses the only revolt to take place among the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz that occurred in Birkenau on June 1944.";s:10:"websites_3";s:0:"";s:17:"websites_3_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:16:"websites_3_title";s:0:"";s:27:"websites_3_publication_info";s:0:"";s:20:"websites_3_link_text";s:0:"";s:19:"websites_3_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:21:"websites_3_annotation";s:0:"";s:10:"websites_4";s:0:"";s:17:"websites_4_author";s:18:"Firstname Lastname";s:16:"websites_4_title";s:0:"";s:27:"websites_4_publication_info";s:0:"";s:20:"websites_4_link_text";s:0:"";s:19:"websites_4_link_url";s:7:"http://";s:21:"websites_4_annotation";s:0:"";s:21:"book_cover_image_file";a:5:{s:4:"name";s:14:"0745643833.jpg";s:4:"type";s:10:"image/jpeg";s:8:"tmp_name";s:38:"/share/web/hist/marcuse/temp/phpiFG3LJ";s:5:"error";i:0;s:4:"size";i:33638;}s:9:"submitted";b:1;s:13:"submittedTime";i:1269383233;s:16:"linksCheckedTime";i:1269383233;s:11:"updatedTime";i:1290350827;s:25:"book_cover_image_filename";s:14:"0745643833.jpg";s:21:"book_cover_image_path";s:64:"essays/Paquier2009Oropeza103.htm.book_cover_image.0745643833.jpg";}