Gideon Greif, a Holocaust historian who teaches at Ono Academic College, appeared on Israeli TV Channel 20’s Night News broadcast to discuss the significance of the revolt of the Jewish Sonderkommandos at the Auschwitz concentration camp which took place 77 years ago. Threatened with death, the Jewish Sonderkommandos were forced to dispose of the bodies of the Jewish victims killed in the gas chambers.
In October 1944, the Sonderkommandos launched a revolt against their Nazi captors. Jewish slave-workers at a German munitions plant had smuggled gunpowder to the Sonderkommandos, which was intended to be used to destroy the gas chambers and serve as the first spark in a general revolt. However, after finding out that the Nazis were planning to murder the Sonderkommandos before they could carry out their plan, they were forced to begin their revolt immediately. With only a handful of weapons, they killed three of their captors and injured another dozen. However, over 450 Sonderkommandos were killed in the Nazi reprisal.
While most early histories of the Holocaust wrote unflatteringly of the Sonderkommandos, historian Greif believed that many of these accounts were wrong and defamatory. Greif’s book on the subject, We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz (Yale University Press) is viewed ae one of the most authoritative works on the subject.
The full interview can be viewed at: