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Auschwitz Sonderkommando Photographs

In 1944 photographs documenting the massacre of Jews in Auschwitz were taken by the Sonderkommando workers and smuggled out in an attempt to alert the world to what was happening.

Photo of Avi Solomon
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"The Sonderkommando were special squads of Jews (and sometimes Russian prisoners of war) who were isolated from their fellows, and forced to work in the industry of extermination. They emptied the gas chambers of bodies; they fed the fires of the crematoria; they removed gold teeth, hair and prosthetic limbs; they collected glasses and wedding rings; they ground the bones of the dead. A squad would last several months before its members were themselves killed - their corpses duly processed by the replacement team. Conscious of their fate, and perhaps mindful of the futility of rebellion, certain Sonderkommando workers appear to have focused on how best to inform the world beyond the camp of the operations of the Final Solution. In August 1944 five squad members obtained an illicit camera; and a Greek Jew, Alex, exposed four frames near Auschwitz’s crematorium V. The film was then smuggled in a tube of toothpaste to the Polish Resistance."
-Guy Lane


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Photo of Arjan

Oh wow, I didn't know that. I visited the Auschwitz museum last year, very impressive. You can read about it in an inspiration I shared (with video) here:

You might also like another of my inspirations: the pinhole camera. See:

Somehow they seem to combine quite well to your inspiration. (I'm not overly keen on linking to my own contributions, but in this case they are so nicely combined in yours). I look forward to combining them into an idea in the next phase.

By the way: great to see you appear in this challenge as well, Avi!

Photo of Avi

Very moving and practical inspirations Arjan! Looking forward to your concept. Suggestion: Make the camera kit mass-deliverable by parachute too:)

Photo of Arjan

Haha, I was thinking about that. Also some sort of floatable, waterproof container to get the documentation out by water :).