An Audiobook excerpt from a historical fiction novel about the Sonderkommando uprising in Auschwitz-Birkenau during WW2.
Commissioned/Recorded in November 2022
Middle Aged (35-54)
Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
two other men stood a little distance from the group. Joe's blood ran cold when he saw the glint of the lightning strike shaped esses on their dark green uniforms. A german patrol. Well, well, look here! One of them spoke as Joel and the three other men returned. You'll need to hurry. It's almost curfew. The man looked to be in his early 20s, only a few years older than Joel. No one responded, keen to finish their gruesome task. Joel knelt and gently lifted the dead man's feet. When he felt a presence he turned and found one of the ss men hovering over him. He met the man's eyes and was dismayed to see a spark of recognition. You look familiar, the man said, his brow furrowed as he scanned jaw's face, but I can't quite place you. His eyes ran over Joel's arms and his expression changed from one of curiosity to suspicion. Where's your armband? Joel's eyes followed the man's gaze. The other ss trooper joined them. What's going on? Get hot. He's not wearing his jew armband, Gerhardt said, taking a step closer, forcing Joel to readjust his stance to avoid tumbling onto the dead man on the pavement. I'm not a jew. He reached into his jacket and produced his driver's permit. The german inspected it, his eyes narrowing as he read it aloud. Robert, Kozak! A folks! Deutsche! Then a triumphant smile appeared on his face, so that's why you look familiar. You work for kessler. I run errands for Mr kessler, joe said, carefully replacing the permit in his jacket pocket. The german looked more relaxed, but his partner spoke in annoyance. What are you doing in the ghetto? Don't you know? Aiding jews is forbidden. Joel stood up, towering over the Germans. I'm sorry I was rushing home and didn't realize I was passing through the ghetto before I knew it. I ran into this group and they needed a hand. He waved his hand at the Mourners, looking at him wide eyed. I thought we couldn't just leave these bodies in the street. What would the city come to if we just leave people to rot? I don't care about jews rotting in the street. The ss man looked at him with a neutral expression. They should have thought about the consequences before doing whatever they did to get shot, joe gritted his teeth. I understand. I apologize for my mistake. The trooper was about to say something when Gerhard spoke up. Come on, handsy, let's move on! Mr Kozak will make his way home and out of the ghetto. He looked at Joel sternly. We won't see you helping out, jews in here again, will we? Of course not. Thank you, Sir, Joel said, as he turned away from the group. He met the eyes of the man with whom he had carried the first body inside. An unspoken look of understanding passed between them. As he walked away he heard the troopers say, and be careful in the ghetto. Those jews might just rob you or verse