Slightly modified Google translation of http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/holocaust ... 70926.html:
Jewish prisoner of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando: "When you read what work I did ..."
Two researchers have unraveled a depressing document: the records of a Jewish prisoner who had to assist the SS in Auschwitz with the gassing of Jews and the burning of their corpses.
The work in the Sonderkommando Auschwitz is one of the worst things people have ever done to each other. The SS forced Jewish prisoners to help other Jews take their clothes from the gas chambers. The members of the Sonderkommandos had to break out the teeth of the dead and shave the hair that was processed into yarn. Subsequently, the bodies were to be buried in mass graves or, from 1942, burned in crematoria.
After a few months the detainees of the Sonderkommandos were killed and replaced by new arrivals. Of about 2200 people only a few hundred survived.
To carry the monstrosity into the world, some prisoners wrote what they experienced. And buried the reports in the hope that they would be found one day. Now two Russian researchers have succeeded in making such a cashier almost completely readable, an equally moving and oppressive document.
It comes from Marcel Nadjari, a Jewish merchant from Thessaloniki. He had been hiding from communist partisans before the German occupiers, but had fallen into the hands of the rangers in Athens in 1944 and deported to Auschwitz. His records were found years ago at excavations near the former crematorium III. They were in a stoppered thermos flask, wrapped in a leather case, but they could only be read to a fraction. Now the historian Pavel Polian and the IT specialist Alexander Nikityev succeeded in deciphering the text almost completely, as they report in the new issue of the quarter-yearbook for contemporary history.
The two researchers had discovered that the pages can be made readable using a common image processing program.
Nadjari wrote the text predominantly in Greek and probably in November 1944. He began with a request to the finder to hand over the document to a diplomatic representation of Greece, which should hand it over to a friend who would in turn inform his friends and relatives.
Nadjari describes his actions:
"After half an hour, we opened the doors (of the gas chamber), and our work began. We carried the corpses of these innocent women and children to the elevator, which brought them into the room with the ovens, and they put them in there the furnaces, where they were burnt without the use of fuel, because of the fat they have. A man produced only about half an oka ash (equivalent to about 600 grams) which forced us to crush the Germans and then to destroy them and then took out a car and poured it into the river, which was passing nearby, and so they removed all traces. "
Nadjari arrived on the 11th of April in the then German Auschwitz. He hoped in vain to meet his previously deported parents and his sister. In the selection he gave himself as a glazier and escaped therefore probably the death. Together with a hundred other prisoners he was assigned to the Sonderkommando after a few weeks.
Nadjari writes that he has never lost his faith, but it seems to him above all to have helped a desire to stay alive: revenge.
"When you read what work I did, you will say, how could I ... or anyone else do this work and burn his fellow believers ... many times I thought of coming in with them to finish But I have always kept my revenge: I wanted to live to avenge the death of Papa and Mama, and that of my beloved little sister, Nelli. "
From May 1944, the Hungarian Jews moved to Auschwitz, some of them hundreds of thousands being destroyed in the following weeks. Nadjari met the death-worshipers in front of the gas chambers:
"Our work was to receive them first, most of them did not know the reason ... the people I saw when their destiny was sealed, I told the truth, and after they were all naked, they went further into the death chamber, where the Germans had laid pipes on the ceiling to make them think they were preparing the bath, with whips in their hands, the Germans forced them to move closer and closer together, so that as many as possible could fit in, a true Sardinian death , then the doors were hermetically sealed, and the gullets always came with the car of the German Red Cross with two SS men. "
The Hungarian Jews were the last large group to be gassed in Auschwitz. Nadjari survived, presumably because he managed to conceal himself in another prisoner's column, as historian Polian suspects. Nadjari came to Mauthausen and had to do forced labor, after the liberation he returned to Greece and emigrated later to the USA. He died in 1971 at the age of 54 in New York. His case was discovered nine years later.
In the concentration camp, Nadjari had expected the Germans to kill him. "We have to leave the earth because we know so much," he wrote.
To his friend, to whom he directed the cashier, he gave up: If one were to ask for him, may he say that the Nadjari family had been "murdered by the cultured Germans."
I think it would be interesting to plot the alleged gassing times (here it’s half an hour) by the date of the (publication of the) testimony, to see what kind of slope you’d get.