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Shoah, meaning “calamity” in Hebrew, is the name that many Jews have decided to use instead of the Holocaust. It seems to be much more prevalent to call it this in Europe, rather than the United States. Shoah, rather than the Holocaust, is the terminology that Paris decided to use when they created the Mémorial de la Shoah. There was one thing that really caught my attention while walking around the Shoah Memorial. There were three pictures of the sonderkommando, prisoners in the death camps who were forced to help the Nazis dispose of bodies from the gas chambers. This was incredibly striking to me because I had never seen something like this before. Thinking about the sonderkommando is difficult because, on one hand, they were traitors to their own people, aiding the Nazis in exterminating their own people. On the other hand, these prisoners were forced into their positions. These men were given the chance to die in the gas chambers, or to clean them out. Many of these men were so overcome with the actions they were forced to commit that they tried to commit suicide. So while some may see these men as traitors, I tend to have a little more compassion for them. It is very easy to say “oh, I would never turn on my people to save my own life” but what would we do if that situation were to happen to us? It is because of these men that we have evidence of the atrocities the Nazis committed and exactly how they did it. Some of the sonderkommando survived and were able to be eyewitnesses in court and could share their stories with the world. While these prisoners watched as they burned the bones of their fellow Jews, some of them wished that they were among the dead. It really made me think about how incredibly difficult it would be to make the decision of joining the sonderkommando or being immediately killed.