One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A detachment of prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp responsible for cremating the dead.
1940s; earliest use found in German Extermination Camps—Auschwitz & Birkenau. From German Sonderkommando, specific use of Sonderkommando military authority with a special responsibility, special military detachment from sonder- separate, special + Kommando command, group of people under a single command, (military) detachment.
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