Auschwitz Inmate Story

Shlomo Venezia was one of the first Jews to climb out of the freight car when it came to the end of the line at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland on April 11, 1944, his mother crammed behind him.  For nearly 50 years he remained haunted and virtually silent about his role in the horror. ''Not because I didn't want to talk,'' he said, ''but because people didn't want to listen, didn't want to believe it.''  That changed in the early 1990s, when right-wing extremism reared again in Italy and, Venezia said, "swastikas began to appear on walls''. He began to speak at conferences, to reporters, to schoolchildren – and most notably to Beatrice Prasquier, a journalist with whom, in 2007, he published Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz.  The book offers a harrowingly matter-of-fact account in which he describes loading corpses into the ovens 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  For full story click here

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