Explore Sonderkommando IWitness Activity in Conjunction with “Son of Saul” on Hungarian TV

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 5:00pm







Sonderkommando survivor Dario Gabbai shows historical documents he donated to USC Shoah Foundation


Hungarian TV station RTL Klub will air the 2015 film Son of Saul for the first time this Saturday, September 24. The IWitness activity Sonderkommandó, Birkenau was designed as a companion activity to the film for Hungarian students.

Son of Saul (Hungary) tells the story of a fictional Jewish man forced to work in the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Sonderkommando were Jewish prisoners who were made to herd people into the gas chambers, then remove valuables and cremate the bodies after the gassing. They were typically murdered themselves after working for a few months. It won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Academy Awards.

The Hungarian-language IWitness activity Sonderkommandó, Birkenau draws on Son of Saul and the testimonies of Holocaust survivors in the Visual History Archive to introduce students to the Sonderkommando. Students learn about the role of the Sonderkommando, the daily life of the men who were part of it, and the “impossible” choices they were forced to make in order to survive. After watching several testimony clips, students create word clouds representing what they have learned.