Tragic Pictures: The Sonderkommando and Their Photographs

  • Nicholas ChareEmail author
  • Dominic Williams
Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)


This chapter considers the SK photographs and how they have been considered alongside words describing them, from the message that accompanied them from the Polish resistance to the claims of more recent scholars such as Dan Stone that they escape verbalization. We show, however, that the importance of textual accompaniments for understanding of the images was recognized from the outset. We also draw attention to the value photographs more broadly held for members of the SK. The significance they accorded photographs as forms of remembrance resonates in noteworthy ways with the idea of postmemory. Our consideration of the four images taken by ‘Alex’ builds on the readings of the Scrolls we offer in Chapter  2 to consider important ethical considerations linked to writing and to ways of seeing.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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