Auschwitz was one of the first books to bring the full horror of the Nazi death camps to the American public; this is, as the New York Review of Books said, "the best brief account of the Auschwitz experience available."
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous "Angel of Death" - Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. In that capacity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.
Narrator Noah Michael Levine's expressive performance shades in different layers of emotion as he narrates the true story of Jewish prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, who was spared death and chosen by Dr. Josef Mengele himself to assist in the Nazi doctor's terrible experiments. Levine sensitively evokes both the horror and desire for survival that permeates Dr. Nyiszli's stories of serving as Mengele's personal research pathologist and as the physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked in the crematoriums and were routinely executed every four months. Listeners will find themselves moved by Dr. Nyiszli's moral agony over his role as Mengele's assistant and his ambition to stay alive in order to reveal the truth about Auschwitz.
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This was an incredibly difficult book to listen to, but compelling at the same time. I have only ever studied WWII history at school, but I guess I wanted to understand more about the Nazi plan for superiority and the lessons we can all learn to avoid anything like this happening again
This was written from a first hand experience. I felt as though the witness was somewhat detached from the atrocities. It is hard to judge someone else when they have been through such an experience. I guess we all have an idea of what we do, how we would cope, but the reality is no one knows until they have been there.
There were various instances in the book when an individual was described. I found it particularly hard to imagine what despair and trauma these people would have experienced in their final hours.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly humans can justify cruelty, because I am sure the German officers were not born bad, but were made bad by twisted logic. It also serves as a lesson to all of us to never forget and learn from past atrocities. How this could ever be denied beggars belief.
- Julie Artist