Poland's last surviving member of a Sonderkommando dies at 85

Henryk Mandelbaum, who was forced by the Nazis to strip fellow Jews of valuables and gold teeth after they were gassed at Auschwitz, died on Tuesday, a historian said. He was 85. Mandelbaum died at a hospital in the southern Polish city of Bytom several days after undergoing heart surgery, said Igor Bartosik, a historian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum who has co-written an upcoming book on Mandelbaum. Bartosik said he did not know the exact cause of death, and hospital officials refused to comment. Mandelbaum was Poland's last surviving member of a Sonderkommando - groups of Jewish prisoners forced to handle the bodies of fellow Jews who were gassed and burned. Mandelbaum was forced as a prisoner to strip victims' bodies of their valuables, pull out their gold teeth and fillings and carry them to crematoria for burning.