Have you ever heard about such profession? Well, we either, until we started to dig up different documents and records from one of Nazi concentration camps in Poland – Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Well, first we’ve got to Krakow where we spent a whole day in the former Jewish district called Kazimierz. It’s worth to know that Nazis actually used to hunt for the Jewish first and foremost. So among all the national minorities that captive in the camps the greatest number of the inmates comprised the Jews. Anyways, travelling from Krakow to Auschwitz we didn’t know what to expect.

That was our first time we’ve been to Poland at all but had heard a lot about the camps on the country territory. However, finally we were heading for Auschwitz to get to know what we don’t know. Our research trip turned out to be very successful. We have found a lot about the whole arrangement of the camp and people that worked there.

One of very characteristic occupation on the camp’s territory was the titular Sonderkommanden. Who was Sonderkommanden? It was just someone whose duties included disposing of the death. Yes, on the camp’s territory here were special persons responsible for selecting inmates sentencing them to death. But that was not everything that Sonderkommanden was to do.

Group of Sonderkommandos waiting for their portion of food, much bigger then a usual inmate's.
Group of Sonderkommandos waiting for their portion of food, much bigger then a usual inmate’s.

Such a person was also to rip out gold teeth of the death prosoners. What was very intriguing to us that Sonderkommandens were not Nazis. They were choosing from the inmates to act as the camp’s staff support and after few month killed. They were not allowed to live for more then a couple of months because they saw and knew too much.

They were considered so called secret-keepers. For the safety purpose, Nazis didn’t let such a person live. So, when their time was up, there were another group of Sonderkommandens prepared to pursue the occupation. The first task of every fresh Sonderkommanden was disposing of the body of the Sonderkommanden he was to replace.