You can read a review of the new movie “Son of Saul” at http://www.newsweek.com/review-film-son-saul-takes-unflinching-look-holocaust-405290
This quote is from the article cited above:
Saul is a Sonderkommando, a Jewish inmate compelled to work as slave labor in a death camp. Although the camp in “Son of Saul” has been identified as Auschwitz, it might as well be Treblinka or Belzec or Sobibór or a number of other places. If this is indeed Auschwitz, we are late in World War II, probably the summer or fall of 1944, when the tide of war had turned decisively against Germany and Hitler’s administrators devoted considerable resources to exterminating as many Jews as possible during the time left to them. Of course the Nazi regime had already committed unforgivable war crimes by that time, but one measure of its insanity lies here: Faced with imminent defeat, the Germans did not make the logical decision to abandon the Final Solution and pour all available money and manpower into military counterattack. It would appear they decided that killing Jews was more important than winning the war.
Is it obscene to consider the gas chambers of Auschwitz as a factory, not inherently unlike one where trousers are sewn or automobiles banged together? (Or where cattle are slaughtered, to take the obvious parallel.) Of course it is, but that was precisely the displacement mechanism that allowed the officers, guards and inmates to move from one day to the next in a semblance of normal behavior. The industrial process in which Saul works is mass murder, to be sure, and its principal output is dead bodies by the thousands, which create an increasingly difficult disposal problem. (The men, women and children to be dragged from the gas chambers are always described as “pieces” by the guards.) As in any industrial process, there are important byproducts as well. One of Saul’s jobs is to pull down and sort all the clothing that new arrivals have hung on hooks before being sent to the “showers,” looking for hidden gold, jewelry and other valuables.
The clothing of the Jews was hung on hooks before they were gassed? I set out to find some proof of that. I found it on my own website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Selection3.html
Begin quote from my website scrapbookpages.com
Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz was 18 years old when she was sent from Czechoslovakia to the Birkenau camp in 1943 and tattooed with the number 34042 on her left arm. In a newspaper article in the Salisbury Post, Scott Jenkins reported on a talk that Cernyak-Spatz gave to sixth-graders at Corriher-Lipe Middle School in May 2000. She stressed to the Corriher-Lipe students that the Holocaust was not a single event, but an efficiently conceived and executed process that began “the minute Adolf Hitler came to power” as Germany’s dictator in 1933.
The following quote is from the newspaper article by Scott Jenkins in the Salisbury Post:
So fierce was Hitler’s hatred, trains carrying Jews to the death camps were given priority even over troop trains carrying soldiers to battle, Cernyak-Spatz said. When she stepped off the train and onto the platform at Birkenau, the results assaulted her senses.
“The first thing you noticed was an absolutely incredible stink,” she said. The noxious, sickly sweet odor hung in the air with a dusky vapor billowing from smokestacks and staining the distant sky, she said.
Then, the selection began. The Nazis separated families, those who could work to one side, those who couldn’t to another. The second group loaded onto trucks.
The women on the trucks asked where they were going. Don’t worry the drivers told them, you will be reunited with your families.
After a nice hot shower.
“Then they took them directly in the direction of that smoke,” Cernyak-Spatz said. Soon, those who survived learned what burned in those buildings.
Guards led prisoners into the large buildings, told them to take off their clothes, hang them on hooks. And remember, tie your shoe laces together, they said, so you don’t lose a shoe.
The Nazis had told Jews to dress in their warmest clothes for the journey to the “work” camps, Cernyak-Spatz said. After the gas chambers, they gathered those clothes for their own use.
For the years during the war, “that is how the whole German nation was clothed … in the clothing and property of dead Jews,” she said.