Joseph Gani grew up in a small village by the shores of the Ionian Sea in Greece. While his father worked in his small textile shop, Joseph went to public school, studied the Jewish religion, and played the sports he loved so much—soccer and baseball.
In 1941, the Germans invaded Greece. Jewish people like Joseph had lived in Greece for over a thousand years, but all the Jewish people in Joseph's area were rounded up in March 1944, and sent to the concentration camp Auschwitz, in Poland. Just a teenager, Joseph should have still been playing sports with his friends on the seashore.
Instead, as part of the Sonderkommando, a work unit at Birkenau, Joseph had to carry the corpses of fellow Jewish people out of the gas chamber where they had been gassed to death to the crematoria where their bodies would be burned. In October of the same year, some Sonderkommando workers revolted. They disarmed the guards of the Shutzstaffel (SS) and blew up one of the crematoria. Soon, other workers joined in the fight. Joseph Gani was killed standing up to the Nazis in October 1944. He was 18 years old.