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....Continua
Excellent tome on The Final Solution, focusing (of course) on Auschwitz, the foremost concentration camp in The Third Reich, if one counts by the number of dead. Rees has researched the subject for many years, and even facts from the 21st century are included here. Apart from the sheer chronological dealings, Rees exemplifies, factualises and explains everything in lay-person terms, going to great extent to bring out the humanity of it all, i.e. how humans are at their worst and best in a variety of ways, before, during and after WWII. A must-read, as a brilliant accommodation to the likewise brilliant BBC TV series....Continua