Object ID


Object Name






Download Full Text (723 KB)


90a: Men standing in back of truck, one with arm raised

.90b:Men unloading dead from truck

.90c: Men placing body in mass grave

.90d:Line of bodies

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:

These photographs appear to depict Jewish prisoners in a “Sonderkommando” brigade emptying a wagon of recently murdered Jews and burying the bodies in a pre-prepared burial pit. The Sonderkommando brigade typically followed a prescribed series of tasks commencing with the arrival of Jews from the transports: helping them in the undressing area arrange their clothing, allowing them to believe they would be taking a shower and be deloused before being reunited with their families. However, Sonderkommando personnel were not allowed to warn the victims of their impending fate. After entering the gas chambers, which in the more sophisticated camps could pack thousands of victims, the Sonderkommandos would wait until the gas administered by the SS would settle before removing the bodies, cleaning the chamber, processing the bodies -- searching for valuables, cutting the hair, removing the clothes, etc., all under the watchful eyes of the SS guards -- before taking the bodies to crematoria or to be buried in mass graves. Because their work was so physically demanding they were allowed to sleep in their own barracks on straw beds, allowed to keep some of the goods brought into the camp by the prisoners -- food, cigarettes, etc. -- and they were allowed to dress in their own clothing as can be seen in these photos.

Precisely because the Sonderkommandos were made to participate in murdering these victims, they were expendable to the SS, and most were eventually murdered themselves.


2 3/4 x 4 5/8"


Concentration Camp, Mass Grave, Burial



Photographs of Concentration Camp Prisoners Engaged in Mass Burial of Murdered Victims



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.