The Auschwitz Sonderkommando

Testimonies, Histories, Representations

  • Nicholas Chare
  • Dominic Williams

Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 1-24
  3. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 25-70
  4. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 71-100
  5. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 101-128
  6. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 129-169
  7. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 171-217
  8. Nicholas Chare, Dominic Williams
    Pages 219-247
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 249-278

About this book


This book is the first to bring together analyses of the full range of post-war testimony given by survivors of the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Auschwitz Sonderkommando were slave labourers in the gas chambers and crematoria, forced to process and dispose of the bodies of those who were murdered. They have been central to a number of key topics in post-war debates about the Shoah: collaboration, moral compromise and survival, resistance, representation, and the possibility of bearing witness. Their testimony however has mostly met with a reluctance to engage in depth with it. Moving from testimonies produced within the event, the Scrolls of Auschwitz and the Sonderkommando photographs, to testimonies given at trials and for video archives, and to the paintings of David Olère and the film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann, this book demonstrates the importance of their witnessing in the post-war memory of the Holocaust, and provides vital new insights into the questions of representation, memory, gender, and the Shoah.


Holocaust Shoah Concentration camps Collaborators Jewish studies The Trials of Witnessing David Olère Scrolls of Auschwitz Acts of Deposition Filip Müller

Authors and affiliations

  • Nicholas Chare
    • 1
  • Dominic Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-11490-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-11491-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site