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Inside the Gas Chambers


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Table of Contents

Preface (Simone Veil).

Note (Beatrice Prasquier).


I. Life in Greece before the Deportation.

II. The First Month in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

III. Sonderkommando: Initiation.

IV. Sonderkommando: The Work Continues.

V. The Revolt of the Sonderkommando and the Dismantling of the Crematoria.

VI. Mauthausen, Melk, and Ebensee.

Historical Notes.

The Shoah, Auschwitz and the Sonderkommando (Marcello Pezzetti).

Italy in Greece: A Short History of a Major Failure (Umberto Gentiloni).

About David Olere.

Selected Bibliography.

About the Author

Shlomo Venezia was a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.


"'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

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