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

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  954 ratings  ·  68 reviews
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, an ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Polity Press (first published 2007)
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Lisa Vegan
I wasn’t sure how the interview format would work, but it created a wonderful account, better, I think, than if Shlomo Venezia had sat down and written the book on his own. It helped that this man was able to speak in great depth; many of the passages are long.

This really is his autobiography, as he starts with his childhood in Greece, and tells quite a bit about his early life and his family, who were originally from Italy.

He’s ruthlessly honest and I appreciated that, about himself, about the
Filipe Miguel
"Trabalhar" nas câmaras de gás

Nascido em território grego, onde foi capturado juntamente com a sua família em Março de 1944, publicou o seu livro de memórias em 2007. Faleceu no ano de 2012 em Itália, Roma. Shlomo Venezia foi o único judeu italiano do Sonderkommando a sobreviver a Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Shlomo conta ao mundo, em formato de entrevista, a realidade daquele "super comando" criado para eliminar os vestígios das câmaras de gás. Pese embora melhor tratados pelos oficiais alemães, todos o
Michael Flanagan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So many things to say about this book...
First, this is not what I would categorize as a "beginner" memoir for Holocaust readers. It is probably the single most graphic book I have ever read; I found (quite literally) that eating anything while reading this was not a good idea. On a larger level, this isn't a good "beginner" choice because Mr. Venezia does not provide much in the way of larger context for his story, so unless you already know a fair bit about the structures of the Holocaust, it's
Matthew Tree
About 90 members of the Jewish prisoner Sonderkommandos - whose jobs were to supervise the undressing of people before they were led into the gas chambers at Auschwitz, to clear out the corpses, remove hair and teeth from them, and carry them to the ovens or burn them in open pits (having ground their larger bones first) - managed to survive the war. Many of them, perhaps fearing (albeit wrongly) that they would be accused of collaboration in the murders of over a million people, kept their sile ...more
Jan 05, 2010 Pilvi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in history
The book is a true story of what it was like to be a sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Sonderkommando was a male Jewish prisoner who had to escort other prisoners to the gas chambers, clean the chambers afterwards and burn the bodies. I read the book in Finnish (there's not an English version available yet), so I'll write the review in Finnish.

Eli kirja on Shlomo Venezian tarina kokemuksistaan sonderkommandona Auschwitz-Birkenaun keskitysleirillä. Sonderkommando oli juutalainen miesvanki, jo
Somehow reading this book made me feel ashamed. As if just being part of humanity makes me partly guilty of this horrendous story of cruelty and systematic destruction. It is a difficult book to read and the pictures are haunting, but the holocaust is a part of my cultural heritage, part of the world that I live in. People like Shlomo Venezia deserve to be heard and not forgotten, no matter how unpleasant it may be.

I was not previously familiar with the Sonderkommando, the unit forced by the Naz
27 gennaio 2014 - Giorno della Memoria

Da qualche anno ho deciso di celebrare la giornata della memoria, il 27 gennaio, leggendo un libro che ricordi la Shoah.
Quest'anno, in un periodo storico in cui il negazionismo sembra farsi largo sempre più prepotentemente, ho deciso di leggere «Sonderkommando Auschwitz» di Shlomo Venezia, perché il rischio di dimenticare, dopo che l'ultimo testimone oculare se ne sarà andato, sarà sempre in agguato, e soprattutto perché, come scriveva Hannah Arendt, «Non s
Katya Vinogradova
"Inside the gas chambers" is an eye-witness account of the Holocaust. Shlomo Venezia was just a young Jewish man from Greece when Hitler announced his war on Jews, gypsies, Russians and everyone else who didn't subscribe to his world view. Shlomo lived through all the horrors of the Holocaust: secluded life in the ghetto, numerous transportations across Europe, several concentration camps and a long road to freedom. This is an honest account of the events, so it is not an easy or pleasant read. ...more
Steve Coscia
I liked the 'interview format' writing style. By sheer luck, Shlomo Venezia survived the death camps because he was healthy, smart and captured late in the war (in 1944). His eye witness testimony and candid remarks about his counterparts and captors make htis story very real. Most interesting was that he kept silent about his death camp until 1992. After the war, no one wanted to hear about life in the camps.
Thomas Ranous
Inside the Gas Chambers is without a doubt one of the most amazingly horrifying accounts of Shlomo Venezia, a Greek born Italian Jew, who for 8 months suffered under the watchful eye for Nazi's as he was forced to perform horrible work as a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.

This "interview style" writing makes the account that Shlomo very first hand and straight from the mouth of the man who suffered through these horrific events; therefore, it prevents the author from misinterpreting any detail that
Excellent book. One of the most honest and heartbreaking personal accounts of being a victim of the Holocaust.
Da qualche anno ho deciso di celebrare la giornata della memoria, il 27 gennaio, leggendo un libro che ricordi la Shoah.
Quest'anno, in un periodo storico in cui il negazionismo sembra farsi largo sempre pi prepotentemente, ho deciso di leggere Sonderkommando Auschwitz di Shlomo Venezia, perch il rischio di dimenticare, dopo che l'ultimo testimone oculare se ne sar andato, sar sempre in agguato, e soprattutto perch, come scriveva Hannah Arendt, Non si pu ricordare qualche cosa a cui non si pens
Astrid Virili
Come raccontare i Sonderkommando? Primo Levi ne "I sommersi e i salvati" analizza molto bene la crudelt nazista di voler coinvolgere le vittime nel crimine che stavano perpetrando, per non lasciare agli ebrei nemmeno il sollievo di essere vittime innocenti - ed per questo che capisco come mai Shlomo Venezia abbia taciuto per tanti anni su quanto ha vissuto a Birkenau. ...more
Melissa Martin
Just like my Native American books everyone should read this book. It is not for the faint of heart. Just knowig that Shlomo got out alive after all the atrocities he had to endure and what he had to do in the gas chambers is unreal. It's very sad and I just can not understand all of the evil in the world. It's so much worse than we will ever know.....
Jill Henricksen
This is the most informative/haunting book about the holocaust that I've read. I really connected with the author, as this is his first-hand account of what he went through. It was definitely a tough read, but I learned so much! Definitely not for light reading, but if you want a little more history, here you go...
Entretien avec un survivant des Sonderkommando, les Kommando de déportés chargés de vider les chambres à gaz et de brûler les corps. Un témoignage édifiant, qui peut nous sembler incroyable ... et pourtant c'était vrai. A lire et faire lire, pour ne pas oublier.
Lauren Hopkins
Incredibly intense memoir of life in Auschwitz as a member of the Sonderkommando. Told through interviews with historians rather than as a narrative by the author himself, the book is very quick and to the point, though many of Venezia's memories and anecdotes from life in the camp make their way into his responses, making much of what he says incredibly emotional and heartfelt, especially when he discusses seeing his mother and younger sisters for the last time, looking at faces of people on th ...more
I hesitate to call a book like this "amazing". but it is an earth-shattering book, written by a man who was forced by the inhuman Nazis to work in the dreaded Sonderkommando: those who had the gruesome duty to unload the gas chambers of dead Jews.

Really, there are no words to describe this. Anyone interested in Holocaust memoirs should read this. Most of the Sonderkommando were killed. Only a very few survived the war, and most who did had no wish to bring to light the details of their imprisonm
Meg Newton
It was amazing to think of his strength, will to live and courage to tell his story.

السوندركومندو وحدات خاصة أختارها النازيون من اليهود المبعدين والواصلين إلى معسكرات النازيين للعمل تحت إمرتهم في تلك المعسكرات.

المؤلف شلومو فينيزيا أحد الذين أُختيروا وأجبروا للعمل في تلك الوحدات.
يعتبر الكتاب سيرة ذاتية أو شهادة ولمحة تاريخية من المؤلف على جرائم النازيين ضد اليهود والتي عرفت بالهولوكوست.

الكتاب ذو طابع حواري بإمكاننا أن نقسمه إلى ثلاثة مراحل في
المرحلة الأولى تحدث المؤلف فيها عن طفولته التي عاشها في اليونان مع عائلته التي فقدت معليها في وقت مبكر مما اضطره لتحمل المسؤولية تجاه عائ
Maria João
Já li, e continuarei a ler, inúmeros relatos e descrições da (nem tanto) longínqua 2ª Grande Guerra (SGG) e das suas atrocidades. O meu interesse possui o fito de não esquecer jamais o quanto a raça Humana se pode transmutar até atingir os limites do inenarrável. O conhecimento Histórico explica-nos o presente e deverá moldar-nos o futuro. A SGG e o indissociável genocídio dos Judeus e de outras minorias são o paradigma de que alguns momentos da História devem ser lembrados para evitar a sua rep ...more
I don't want to rate this book with stars, because I think I don't know how I could and would rate a book that tells about probably the most horrible thing in our world's history.

But still, I really liked how the book was written though. It tried to sound very natural, distant, maybe, but still very close and present. The main point was to tell nothing more than the truth.

I recommend this book to anyone, who wishes to know more about holocaust and what was really going on in Auschwitz.
I read this book years ago, but I still remember it quite clearly.
It definitely touched me - how could it not?
The way of writing is very catchy, though - I dare say - not overdramatised, nor does it seek pity. Still, it desplays the terrible facts in a highly personal way.
It seems wrong to say that I "enjoyed" this book (considering the topic)... but it was a very quick read - I could not put it down!
I highly recommend it!
Se Eldridge
I liked the format of the book. Setting it as a question and answer made me feel like I was interacting with Shlomo Venezia.

One of the things that I was glad to see emphasized was the fact that there was not a Auschwitz. I think that there often a mistake made in thinking that there were just one camp there.

I am interested in reading another book on the Sonnderkommando to see how another member chooses to witness.
Shlomo Venezia was an Italian/Greek Jewish man living in Greece during the Second World War who spent 8 months in Auschwitz working in the Sonderkommando. It was only in the 1990s that he began talking about his experiences and this book was written in the early 2000s as the result of an interview. It is written in that style. The end of the book has an overview of some historical notes. I did really enjoy it, and it was well written and flowed very well. For all that it felt a bit odd reading i ...more
This is a very good, detailed autobiography on this man's personal experiences from Auschwitz. The book is written interview style to bring to life the raw emotions from the author. This is not a quick read and will leave the reader in tears at points but it is good to know the honest truth of what those who survived lived through during those dark and unimaginable times of WWII.
David Peters
Why I read It
I like historical fiction and truly believe the awfulness of man's treatment of man should never be forgotten, lest it be relived.

The Good
You would be hard pressed to find a more accurate depiction of this horrific event. I cannot fathom how so many people were okay with this happening and actively participated in it (I am speaking of the Germans, specifically the SS).

The Bad
This book will disturb you on a fundamental level - as it should.

The Ugly (my opinion)
A terrible story that n
Daniel Vladimiro
Um testemunho impressionante sobre algo que ainda assim parece impossível de ter acontecido, um nível tão horroroso e baixo, que é importante conhecer, para nunca cair no esquecimento.
Não é um livro fácil de digerir.

Jolanda Bloechlinger
Ein sehr beeindruckendes Buch, das den Alltag in einem Konzentrationslager mal aus einem anderen Blickwinkel zeigt, naemlich aus der Sicht eines Mitgliedes des Sonderkommandos. Die Mitarbeiter des Sonderkommandos waren nicht etwa Deutsche, sondern Juden die ihre Landsleute in den Tod begleiten mussten. Beim Entkleiden helfen, keine Panik aufkommen lassen, Tuer zur Gaskammer schliessen, die Toten danach auf Wertgegenstaende untersuchen und die Leichen anschliessend verbrennen... Wahnsinn...Das Bu ...more
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Shlomo Venezia was a Greek-born Italian Jew. He was a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Venezia was born in Thessaloniki, where he was arrested with his family in March 1944; they were deported to the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the three main camps that made up the Auschwitz complex. During the selection made by Nazi doctors to separate deportees deemed fi
More about Shlomo Venezia...
Sonderkommando:Dans l'enfer des chambres à gaz (Essais - Documents) (French Edition)

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