I Was at the Auschwitz Crematorium. A Conversation with Henryk Mandelbaum, Former Prisoner and Member of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz.
This book is a record of conversations with one the most valuable eyewitnesses to the Holocaust. Henryk Mandelbaum (1922-2008), a boy from a poor Jewish family, was chosen by the SS for an unimaginably onerous job. The Sonderkommando — the special labor detail — was present in every one of the extermination camps that the Nazis set up during the Second World War. The basic duty of the prisoners selected for this kind of work was burying or burning the bodies of murdered prisoners, cleaning out the rooms used as gas chambers, sorting the valuables left behind by the victims, and other tasks connected with the mass murder of Jews. It is difficult to compare the experience of the "Sonders" in the extermination centers with anything else in human history.
Henryk Mandelbaum's momoirs have exceptional value. Above all, they are not contaminated by secondary sources. Mandelbaum's account is characterized by exceptional authenticity. A historian would call it raw and uninformed but Mandelbaum makes each of his assertions confidently and with full conviction. When he is unsure of something, he remains silent. He remembers people's appearances better than their names. His story is authentic, true and moving.
This publication is available in English, French, Spanish and Italian.