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December 31, 2015

“the Ungraspable Horrors of Auschwitz”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:53 pm

“Son of Saul” and the Ungraspable Horrors of Auschwitz

The words above are in the headline of a news article which you can read at

Is ungraspable even a word?

I wrote about the Sonderkommando revolt in this previous blog post:


Quote from the news article about the film:

In the realm of Holocaust dramas, László Nemes’s first feature, “Son of Saul,” is ambitious and provocative but nearly superfluous. Credit Photograph by Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett

The title of my blog post comes from the news article which has this quote:

While emptying the gas chamber of bodies, Saul sees a boy who is still breathing; the boy dies moments thereafter, but his body is taken by a camp doctor for autopsy—and Saul, visiting the doctor (who turns out also to be a prisoner), tells him that the boy is his son and that he wants to spend a few minutes with the body. What Saul actually wants is something more drastic and seemingly impossible: he wants to take the body and give it a proper burial. Moreover, for that burial he needs a rabbi, and, making use of his position as a Sonderkommando (which allows him to move not quite freely but at least widely throughout the concentration camp), Saul obsessively searches among Jewish deportees to find one.

But, early in his quest, he happens upon other Sonderkommando members who are organizing an armed uprising to destroy the gas chambers, and they recruit him to that cause. Though Saul never makes his reasoning clear (once, he explains, “I have to eat”), he seems to join the uprising neither from commitment nor to save himself but to win his colleagues’ aid in his efforts to bury his son, and to gain the measure of mobility, as a part of their plot, that will help him to do so.

I wrote about the Sonderkommando revolt on my website at

The revolt was the occasion when the Sonderkommando Jews blew up the Krema IV gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The ruins of Krema IV are a reconstruction

The ruins of Krema IV are a reconstruction

According to Michael J. Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum, in their book entitled The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? the Krema IV and Krema V buildings were 220 feet long by 42 feet wide.

The Krema IV building was completely demolished, blown up with dynamite which several women prisoners stole from the factory where they were working. All the bricks were removed by Polish civilians after the war, and the ruins that visitors see today are a reconstruction, according to the Auschwitz Museum.

According to Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a prisoner who did autopsies at Birkenau, each Sonderkommando group was killed after a few months and replaced by a new crew. Knowing that they were soon going to be killed, the members of the next-to-last Sonderkommando revolted and blew up the Krema IV building.

A sign at the site of Krema IV says that there were 450 prisoners who were killed by the SS during the revolt or afterwards in retaliation.

For some unknown reason, the Jews in the last Sonderkommando group were not exterminated.

Around 100 of them were marched out of the camp when it was abandoned by the Nazis on January 18, 1945. Several members of this Sonderkommando group survived and three of them gave eye-witness testimony at the 1947 trial of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoess, about how the prisoners were gassed at Birkenau.

This is my last blog post of 2015.  Happy New Year, everyone.


  1. I’m not convinced that a Sondercommando team did carry out a revolt and blew up Krema 4 at all. I don’t even believe that the facility was even a gas chamber. It probably was an incinerator for burning waste products, and the furnaces caught fire in some kind of accident which killed and injured several inmate workers and three of the SS guards. Everything else about this event is probably all made-up, to create a dramatic storyline that will impress the world. The holocausters want to convey the idea that the inmates were brave, courageous dare-devils who were plotting to destroy the facility and attempt a bold escape.

    The story goes;- that some female inmates who were working in a nearby munitions plant located outside the camp, managed to regularly smuggle tiny amounts of explosive material into Birkenau, where other inmates would deliver it to the sondercommandos in Krema 4. They would then construct makeshift bombs or grenades which were thrown into the furnace ovens as the revolt broke out. After the revolt was put down, all the escapees, plus the entire sondercommando were shot. A week-or-two later, several of the female workers at the munitions plant were hanged.

    The story is possible – but is it plausible? Men and women were kept entirely separate in Birkenau, and never came into contact with one another. And would the sondercommando workers have had the technical ability or expertise to turn an unknown chemical material into a viable explosive weapon. In addition to this, it is claimed that there were 169 sondercommando workers in Krema 4 – how would it be possible for the plot to remain secret. There would bound to be one or two SS informers amongst them, plus many others who were not in favour of the plot and try to prevent it from happening, because they knew the inevitable outcome.

    But, of course, if Krema 4 was not an extermination facility, then there wouldn’t be that number of sondercommando inmates working there – and no point in blowing the facility up anyway.

    Comment by Talbot — January 2, 2016 @ 9:33 am

  2. FURTHERGLORY. 1. When evacuating Auschwitz the Nazis came in a hurry – the Red Army was approching faster – and so there had been the confusion which made possible for about on hundred SONDERKOMANDO Jews to go away with the death march inside the groups of other prisoniers. 2. For the same hurry the Nazis did not manage to exterminate – kill – the last prisoniers then liberated. 3. The prisoniers had NO CHOICE; who could march had some probability to survive while who could not faced the possible mass murder but, fortunately, the Nazis had no time any more, which comments here deeply regret. Interesting.

    Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — January 1, 2016 @ 2:01 am

    • You wrote: “– the Red Army was approching faster – and so there had been the confusion which made possible for about on hundred SONDERKOMANDO Jews to go away with the death march inside the groups of other prisoniers. 2. For the same hurry the Nazis did not manage to exterminate – kill – the last prisoniers then liberated.”

      This is a subject upon which True Believers and Holocaust deniers disagree. I don’t think that the Sonderkommando Jews were killed after three months and replaced by new men.

      I think that each prisoner at Auschwitz was given a choice of whether they would stay and be liberated by the Soviets, or whether they would leave with the Nazis. Most of them left with the Germans, who led the way, tramping down the snow as they marched. I have personally talked with a woman who was on the march. She told me about the “sag wagon” where the women could ride for awhile when they were too tired to walk anymore. She survived and married one of the SS men that she met on the march.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 1, 2016 @ 6:46 am

      • According to his testimony Elie Wiesel made sure he went with the Germans on that much. If the Germans were so bad and murderous why would he do that obviously the Soviets would have treated them worse than the Germans would ever treat them it seems to me the Germans were more sympathetic with them and tied to help them on that March that’s what I get out of it.

        Comment by jrizoli — January 1, 2016 @ 8:10 am

        • I believe that you are correct: the prisoners were afraid of the Soviets. They believed that the Germans would treat them better, so that is why they marched out if they were able to walk.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 1, 2016 @ 9:26 am

      • FURTHERGLORY. 1 In no Lager the Nazis left a true choice between march away and remain. 2. The fact had been that the Red Army had been faster than the SS tought and so they had not time to liquidate the prisioniers they could not tale away. The occured elsewhere like at Buchenwald.
        FURTHERGLORY, TALBOT. 1. I have read the statement of Shlomo Venezia that due to the confusion he managed to join a group of prisoniers leaving and so he survived. 2. You are not aware that the Nazi doctrine of deep hatred meant mass murder of the Jews until the last days of war. 3. Survival meant that the Nazis did not manage before their defeat to kill all the victims and not that their forgot to liquidate them. .
        I am not involved in the SHOAH BUSINESS and so I do not follow any “official narrative”; clearly I do not make money so.
        My late Father gave evidence so in Court as for history the few times he had been interviewed. I myself am studying history considering events within their context and background. Clear at last?
        Again Happy 2016.

        Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — January 1, 2016 @ 8:28 am

        • I’m sorry, Doctor Murmelstein, but I just don’t believe that if the Nazis were carrying out mass slaughter in these Kremas in Birkenau, they would allow any of the Sondercommandos to leave Auschwitz alive. Surely, they would all be regarded as dangerous witnesses to what had taken place. In addition, we’ve been told that these guys were held separately from the remainder of the camp, and their billets were in the attic, or loft, of the Kremas themselves. So after the alleged “gassings” had come to an end in November, their duties were at an end and they were superfluous to requirements.

          And being all cooped up together within the confines of the Kremas themselves, then this would be the critical moment when the SS would execute them all. But you are suggesting that the Sondercommando personnel somehow left the Kremas right under the noses of the guards and merged back among the prisoners in the rest of the camp for the next six to eight weeks!

          With due respect – this explanation does not make any sense.

          Comment by Talbot — January 1, 2016 @ 9:09 am

          • The information about the Sonderkommando Jews comes from Dr. Miklós Nyiszli. I believe that Nyiszli was a complete fake who was never at Auschwitz. I have written several blog posts about Dr. Nyiszli which you can read at

            Comment by furtherglory — January 1, 2016 @ 9:17 am

            • I read your blog about Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. It is certainly highly suspicious that both he and the notorious Fillip Mueller should both finish up in the Mauthausen sub-camp at Melk. During the days and weeks following the end of the war, they could well have got together – along with US special intelligence operatives – to concoct their Birkenau stories.

              I note, that you think that Dr, Nyiszli is a fake, and was probably never at Auschwitz at all. But it is possible that if the two Kremas at Birkenau were being used in the correct manner i.e;- as a morgue and a crematorium for the burning of individual bodies, then a qualified pathologist might well be employed to carry out forensic work to find out how people died. I believe the crematoria blueprints do indicate a couple of small rooms just off the area where the elevators stood between the so-called “undressing room” and the “gas chamber”. So could he have inspected the bodies in those.

              The idea of the Sondercommando teams living and sleeping in the attics above the Crematorium furnace room is probably just as fantastical as the idea that these structures were extermination facilities. According to the official narrative, there were 169 workers living in each facility – with half of them on duty, and the other half asleep! But if these structures were normal morgues and crematoria, then there would be no need for anyone to live up in those attics at all – the workers would be living in the barracks just like everyone else.

              But it is Dr. Nyiszli’s claim of 3,000 men, women and children all being gassed together in one session which shows clearly that he is a liar. The structures are nowhere near large enough to accommodate this number of people – and he even compounds this nonsense by saying that a team of Sondercommandos came into the undressing room to help them all undress.

              I can imagine some of the poor folk saying – “It’s a little bit crowded in here doctor – are you sure we are all going to take a shower together?”

              Comment by Talbot — January 1, 2016 @ 11:57 am

    • You are straying from the official holocaust narrative here, Dr. Murmelstein, if you say that the Nazis were in such a hurry to leave Auschwitz that they forgot to kill all the Sondercommando workers. You see, we’ve been told that all the gassings and cremations in the 4 Kremas at Birkenau ceased in November 1944.

      Well, Auschwitz wasn’t finally evacuated until the 18th January 1945, so therefore the Nazis had almost two months in which to dispose of the Sondercommando personnel.

      No, the fact that these workers were allowed to leave Auschwitz alive, and join the evacuation column (not Death March – thank you very much!), proves that there were no “exterminations” taking place there. These guys just operated the morgues and crematorias for those unfortunate people who died of various natural causes in the camps.

      Comment by Talbot — January 1, 2016 @ 7:04 am

  3. “But when Streicher was put in charge of a boycott of the city’s [Nuremburg’s] Jewish stores on April 1, l933, the exodus began. In July of that year, four hundred prominent Jews were rounded up and humiliated, some forced to trim lawns with their teeth.” – BLOODLINES: Recovering Hitler’s Nuremburg Laws, from Patton’s Trophy to Public Memorial. Anthony M. Platt with Cecilia E. Oleary. 2006, page 81.

    Comment by who dares wings — December 31, 2015 @ 6:32 pm

  4. If you strike a king, strike him to kill him. If you exterminate a people, exterminate THEM ALL.

    Or, maybe that wasn’t what the Germans were about in the first place . . .

    Comment by Jett Rucker — December 31, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

    • Why was the word “exterminate” used? The word exterminate is usually used to mean killing bugs. The Nazis were exterminating lice with Zyklon-B, not people.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 31, 2015 @ 4:05 pm

  5. There no homicidal gas chambers at Birkenau. Please show me a homicidal gas chamber show me how it was done how they disposed of the bodies how they cremated them and I will be a believer but until then you have no proof just eyewitness testimony that is based on lies here we go again same old song.

    Comment by jrizoli — December 31, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

    • As soon as I saw the alleged gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp in 1998, I knew that it could not have been a gas chamber. There was an SS hospital across the street from the gas chamber, which made this not a good location for a gas chamber. The gas pellets were allegedly thrown through holes in the roof, which would have been dangerous. The covers for the holes were not air tight.
      In spite of all this, tourists are told today that the so-called gas chamber was real.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 31, 2015 @ 4:00 pm

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