Joseph Gani was an athletic teenager in Greece when his family was deported and sent to Auschwitz. He was forced to work in the Sonderkommando. This unit’s grim task was to move the corpses of fellow Jewish prisoners from the gas chambers to the crematorium. After months of this terrible work, he and other members of the Sonderkommando revolted, disarming SS guards, and blowing up one of the crematoria. Joseph was killed in the effort. We honor him both by making his portrait and by using his story of courage to inspire students today.
Those students reflected on the experience of drawing his portrait:
“I feel that he was a strong and smart person. He didn’t give up so easily. I will remember his eyes. He has a deep intensity to look at life.”
— Silvia A.
“I think I will remember his expression, because it’s so powerful.”
— Julie R.
“I felt very honored to spend time observing a photograph and making art based on a photo. I will remember my portrait of Joseph Gani and what he did to save lives of many Jews.”