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Auschwitz - Buchenwald  - Belzec - Sobibor - Treblinka
The Nazi concentration camps
Rudolph Hoess denied personal responsibility with all the atrocities which occured in Auschwitz.    He himself said that he never personally had anything against the Jews and he never killed one -- let alone tortured one -- yet he authorised the murder of some four million inmates.

This book is by far the single most important book about the Holocaust.  Rudolf Hoess wrote these memoirs while he was drying off in prison after his capture by the British.   Voluntarily, he wrote in detail about his life, as well as some pretty nasty occurances which occured in Auschwitz.   His memoirs, aside from the odd bout of denial of responsibility, are a rare piece of information into both the nature and workings of the Holocaust and they serve as a terrific example of how one stupid man let his family-oriented sense of obeying orders and duty get the best of him.  Everybody should read this book, for inside it are the writings of the first Kommandant of Auschwitz: one who watched millions of innocent human beings dissolve in the gas chambers, burn in the crematoriums, and their teeth melted into gold bars.    His greatest crime of all was the submission into the workings of this terrifying regime, while forgetting all human nature and feelings, and acting only on behalf of orders and a sense of duty.   I repeat, this is a must read for everybody, whether or not they are interested in the Holocaust, for it also serves as a very big lessson to never, ever, no matter what, let a senseless killing of people take place again.   If we do not learn from this, and such a thing happens again, then there may be not a single survivor to live and tell the tale.

Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, edited by Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, is probably the most comprehensive volume on Auschwitz in print.   Essays by leading scholars from Europe, Israel, and the United States document the history of the camp, the technology and magnitude of the genocide that occurred there, profiles of the inmates and the Nazis who ran the camp (such as Joseph Mengele), the underground resistance that arose, and what the outside world knew about Auschwitz and when.   It's not a book to read straight through because of the sheer volume of information (more than 600 pages of text) and the horror of its contents.   But it's the best resource for answering a wide variety of questions about the camp, especially those raised by the many excellent memoirs by the survivors. --Michael Joseph Gross

The Theory and Practice of Hell:
The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them

by Eugen Kogon
Paperback (1998)

This is the most horrifying book I've ever read.   The individual acts of violence portrayed in the book are bad enough.   The fact that they are all true is worse. However what sets this book apart from other stories of mass murderers is that all the murderers (SS-men, Kapos, etc.) are all part of one SYSTEM, specifically designed to carry out the disgusting acts described in the book.
This book is Eugen Kogon's account of the Buchenwald concentration camp.   It is an outgrowth of a document he wrote for the Nurnburg trials.   Much has been said about the "objectivity" of his writting, although I do not see how anyone ever came to such a conclusion.   He is persistently preaching about the evil of the concentration camps, and his assessment of the intellect of SS men is slanderous at best.  The book dwells on every act of corruption engaged in by both the SS and inmates in positions of authority.   However, he never acknowledges any such misconduct on his own part.   He also does a cover up on crimes perpetrated against German POW's and innocent civilians by the Allies and camp inmates after the liberation of the concentration camps.

" . . . Mr. Arad reports as a controlled and effective witness for the prosecution. . . .  Mr. Arad's book, with its abundance of horrifying detail, reminds us of how far we have to go." --New York Times Book Review
" . . . some of the most gripping chapters I have ever read. . . . THE authentic, exhaustive, definitive account of the least known death camps of the Nazi era." --Raul Hilberg
Arad, historian and principal prosecution witness at the Israeli trial of John Demjanjuk (accused of being Treblinka's infamous "Ivan the Terrible"), uses primary materials to reveal the complete story of these Nazi death camps.

Inside the Concentration Camps
by Eugene Aroneanu, Thomas Whissen
Hardcover (1996)
                       Paperback  (1996)

Aroneanu, a Romanian, was assigned the task of drawing up the first lists of Nazi atrocities in 1945 for use at the Nuremberg war crime trials.   This book is the result of his research.   The 100 eyewitness testimonies by concentration camp survivors are intermixed, arranged by subject matter to reflect the chronology of the camps from deportations to liberation.   The survivors were not only Jews but also Gypsies, Catholics, Communists, and Jehovah's Witnesses; attorneys, doctors, teachers, students, soldiers, a bakery clerk, and a mechanic.   They speak of unbelievable horror; the book also contains statements from 25 official reports from such death camps as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Ravensbruck.    No other work documents these crimes against humanity as powerfully and vividly as this one. 
George Cohen Copyright© 1996, American Library Association. All rights reserved

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