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We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, is a book by Gid'on Graif. First published in Hebrew in 1999,[1] the work was translated into English in 2005.[2] Graif's book based on a series of interviews with surviving Sonderkommandos - Jewish prisoners who survived by working staff jobs at the Geman death camps. The writer, Gideon Greif, is a researcher at Yad Vashem (יד ושם), Israel, the principal institution in the world studying the history of the Holocaust. He had also served as a visiting professor at The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, the University of Miami.

The Sonderkommando, that is, the work units of Nazi death camp prisoners forced to aid the killing process during The Holocaust, of Auschwitz and Birkenau, which was a part of the Auschwitz, consisted mainly of Jewish prisoners. The book is based on intensive and extensive interviews of the survivors of the members of these particular units of the Sonderkommandos. A note by the publishers states: "The book provides direct testimony about the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem,” but it is also a unique document on the boundless cruelty and deceit practiced by the Germans. It documents the helplessness and powerlessness of the one-and-a-half million people, 90 percent of them Jews, who were brutally murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau."[3]

Critical reception

  • In 2002, Trevor Royle of the Glasgow Sunday Herald identified We Wept Without Tears as a "groundbreaking" historical work that helped bring the story of the Jewish Sonderkommandos "out of the closet."[4]


  1. Graif, Gid'on (1999) (in Hebrew). Bakhinu beli dema'ot-- /. pp. 420. ISBN 965-448-450-1. 
  2. Graif, Gid'on (2005). We Wept Without Tears. Yale University Press. pp. 381. ISBN 0-300-10651-3. 
  3. We Wept Without Tears
  4. Royle, Trevor (2002-10-27). "They helped the Nazis murder their fellow Jews now these Holocaust victims' grim secret has been unveiled on film". Sunday Herald. p. 2. 

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