Posts Tagged ‘Sonderkommando’

Sonderkommandos on the platform

By S. Parker Yesko At several points on our tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, our guide Pawel Sawicki’s narration turned to the complicated role of the Sonderkommando unit at the camp. The Sonderkommandos were Jewish prisoners handpicked to carry out some of the grisliest tasks of the extermination process. They were the ones sent into the gas […]


Art and photography at Auschwitz

By Jessica Davey-Quantick There is an image of fuzzy kittens cavorting on the wall of one of the bathrooms at Auschwitz 1. “Prisoners did it,” says Pawel Sawicki, who works in the press office at Auschwitz. He calls the kittens “semi-official art”: art that was not exactly approved, but likely did not attract punishment. In […]


From the platform to the birch forest: retracing victims’ steps at Birkenau

By Alyssa Creamer Roughly 40 people stood around a bus outside a hotel in Oświęcim, Poland, many solemn and quiet because they had visited the first of two concentration camps—preserved now as museums—the day before. Squinting in the sunlight, they waited for instructions before departing for the second, Auschwitz II-Birkenau. A small, seemingly offhand comment […]


Bearing witness through photography

By Lindsey Anderson Disclaimer: This post contains an image that may be disturbing to some viewers.  Gruesome images have existed as long as photography has, but they seem to have pervaded modern life because of social media. On Facebook or YouTube, viewers can find videos of Islamic State militants viciously killing prisoners or photographs of […]