A New History

eBook - 2005
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Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail--from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred. Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews--their "Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a "practical" response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Insights gleaned from more than one hundred original interviews shed new light on history's most famous death camp, with the testimonies of survivors providing a detailed and chilling portrait of the camp's inner workings, in a companion volume to the PBS documentary.
Publisher: New York : Public Affairs, 2005
ISBN: 9781610390118
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxii, 327 pages)
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May 19, 2013

History of Auschwitz and the "Final Solution" of the Nazis. Incorporates viewpoints of both survivors as well as those who worked for the SS. The author provides eye witness accounts of the degradation that was endemic in this and the other camps for those who were killed as well as those co-opted to assist in the killings to save their own lives without it being prurient. Although heart wrenching this is a book that everyone should read. Hopefully no one who reads this will ever utter the words "those people", the first step of dehumanizing people.

Dec 30, 2010

An overriding theme is that you don't know how you would behave unless you were in these situations yourself. That goes both for the perpetrators as well as their victims.

Covers more than just Auschwitz, it covers the other camps too, as well as a lot of viewpoints from those who were the architects of the Nazi atrocities.

A very interesting read.

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