am 9. Dezember 2005
When one thinks of the labor and death camps instituted by the Nazis during World War II, the notorious concentration camp at Auschwitz comes immediately to mind. One cannot help but wonder what kind of mindset would devise such an infamy. How could Germany, a nation that was noted for its richness of culture, have devised a plan of genocide that was so far reaching and so inherently evil?
The author attempts to answer that question and succeeds in doing so brilliantly. This is a very well-written book that will appeal to those who are interested in the general human condition, as well as those interested in the holocaust itself. It is scholarly, yet, at the same time, immensely readable. This is because the author has put a very human face on the dreaded death camp of Auschwitz. The stories and experiences of more than a hundred people are integrated throughout the narrative, which delves into the historical backdrop of the Nazi political machinery and its leadership. Survivors of Auschwitz, as well as Nazi perpetrators, tell of their experiences in the hell that was known as Auschwitz, and they tell it from their own unique perspectives. The symbiosis that often existed between prisoner and prison guard is quite unsettling, as are the attendant moral and ethical issues.
The author attempts to help the reader understand how it was that the "final solution" came about. It is an unsentimental, intellectually objective, critical analysis of one of the most infamous episodes in modern history and warfare. The author carefully delineates how the Nazis developed their reprehensible strategy for global genocide, and how it came about being implemented. The creation of Auschwitz was crucial to the Nazis' desire to rid itself of Europe's Jewish population but, however, that desire may not have been entirely ideologically driven. From his extensive research, the author postulates that there may have been a practical, more pragmatic component that dictated the actions of the Nazis in the final, waning days of World War II that was no less immoral than the ideological one.
This is simply a stunning and authoritative book by an author whose expertise in this area is undeniable. It is a comprehensive and insightful look at one of the most notorious death camps in the history of Nazi Germany. The author carefully explains the rise and fall of Auschwitz within the context of the Nazi mentality and ideology, as well as within the broader context of historical and military pragmatism. It is a devastating portrait, indeed, and with its sixteen pages of vintage black and white photographs, it is a book that will keep the reader riveted to its pages until the very last one is turned.