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Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz by [Shlomo Venezia]

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Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 278 ratings

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Length: 229 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

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"'A unique participant's account of everyday death and life,' the jacket says. That sense of existential inversion is what comes across most strongly in this book, more strongly than even Levi's greatest work can convey."
The Australian

"Venezia reports soberly and seemingly without emotion - and yet the book becomes breathtaking in its forcefulness."
Holocaust and Genocide Studies

"Venezia's experiences during the war is at once both fascinating and disturbing. His description of prewar Salonika and his complicated ethnic/national background certainly help illuminate our picture of the multicultural societies of Europe that the Second World War nearly completely eliminated. He also captures the violence and brutality of Auschwitz in a very readable fashion. His descriptions of the inhumanity of the camp will remain with me for quite some time."
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online

"A deeply sincere, unadorned description of Venezia's journey through hell ... There are few, if any, better descriptions of the impact of massive psychic trauma on the human soul."
Jewish Book World

"Venezia comes across as a very reliable witness. His language is clear, and he certainly does not idealize the members of the 'Sonderkommando' or his own role in the extermination process. It is a detailed and heartbreaking story, told in very restrained language."
Journal of Contemporary History

"A harrowingly matter-of-fact account."
Boston Globe

"Most Sonderkommando members were systematically killed by the SS. But fate allowed Shlomo Venezia to survive, and the horrific privilege to bear witness."
History Wire

"Shlomo Venezia's unnervingly dispassionate personal record demands to be heard. Interviewer Beatrice Prasquier's brusque questions, answered with painful truthfulness, bring home the lifelong scars this Greek Italian Jew must carry from the ever-present memories of the numberless innocents he helped lead to their grotesque slaughter."
Morning Star

"What is remarkable is on the one hand the lack of anger, the simple language dealing with events that are unforgettable and beyond reality, and on the other hand the fact of Venezia's daily life ever since ... He has never, in his mind, lived outside the camp."
Atsmi Uvsari

"I read many accounts of former deportees, and each time they take me back to life in the camp. But the story told by Shlomo Venezia is especially overwhelming because it is the only complete eye-witness account that we have from a survivor of the Sonderkommandos."
Simone Veil

"This holocaust survivor's testimony, like all others, will be read with fear and trembling."
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

This is a unique, 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 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, including 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 ‘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.

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
278 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Robert S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, detailed and honest 1st person account from the factory of death
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 18, 2020
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Saturnicus
4.0 out of 5 stars It should not happen again..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 22, 2017
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Kee Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2015
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gaynor
5.0 out of 5 stars Please it's a must read
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5.0 out of 5 stars terrible, what man can do to man
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2015
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CC
5.0 out of 5 stars A very brave and painful "confession" of a nightmarish role which no one has ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 25, 2015
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Lee Nelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2019
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M. McClure
5.0 out of 5 stars The Horror of the Shoah
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Dr T
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate - buy this book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2015
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mr richard n smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing eyewitness account
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2014
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Matthew Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2020
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Danielle Lovesey
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting but a must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2013
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Paul
2.0 out of 5 stars Good but
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2016
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DT
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable now more than ever
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2015
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Eian
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and hard to put down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2016
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