(Special Commando), 1. a prisoner slave labor group assigned to work in the killing area of an extermination camp. Few Sonderkommando survived as they were usually killed and replaced at periodic intervals. There were several Sonderkommando revolts. The group at Auschwitz-Birkenau staged an uprising in 1944 and set off an explosion that destroyed Crematorium IV.

2. A German unit that worked along with the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet territories. Their task was to obliterate the traces of mass slaughter by burning bodies.

Sources: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; Historical Atlas of the Holocaust.

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