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( Read Pdf ) ë Auschwitz: A New History Ù 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 Than 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 BlurredRees 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 A coming soon review THE FLOWERS IN THE WINDOWBOXWhen you read about the Nazis there s always this strange contradiction their famous obsession with order, with following orders, with classification, rules, hierarchy, and all of that, is superimposed upon a regime which was most of the time in chaos, ministries competing with other ministries, states the SS within states for many really big projects there was a culture of no written orders, and in many cases major policies were made up on the spot.The answer to this puzzle is the Nazi regime was radical. It was specifically not democratic and consensual If a decision was reached at the top it was of no concern if it contradicted any other policy, or even if it was frankly impossible If subordinates raised any practical objections they were toldYou will find a way. This led to, for instance, Rudolph Hoess, newly appointed commandant of Auschwitz, driving around the villages of southern Poland scavenging and stealing any building materials he could find in order to get some barracks built in 1940.In Auschwitz chaos and efficiency were fused together It was never one thing, not even one camp It was originally a labour camp for Polish political prisoners and some German criminals then came the Russian prisoners of war And it grew and grew Eventually Auschwitz was an area of about 25 square miles There were two big camps, Auschwitz I and Birkenau, then there were 43 sub camps which appeared as industries such as I G Farben and Bayer moved in and constructed nearby factories and paid the SS for slave labour Bayer is one of the companies I now indirectly work for, it s one of our big pharma clients Then some low level gassing experiments began, which in time led to huge purpose built crematoriums with built in gas chambers being constructed in Birkenau, and we arrive at this summary 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz1.1 million died there 1 million of them were Jews The non Jews were made up of 70,000 Poles, 20,000 Roma and 10,000 Russians WE HAVE CARRIED OUT THIS MOST DIFFICULT TASK FOR THE LOVE OF OUR PEOPLE The first part of the Holocaust was wild and anarchic The Einsatzgruppen squads murdered Jews just behind the front line in the USSR and they did this by the crudest of methods, they lined the people up, men, women and children, and shot them, and threw them in ditches or pits This was horrible work, it was day in and day out It quickly destroyed the morale of the soldiers They couldn t take it There had to be a better way And there was The Aktion T4 euthenasia programme for the eradication of incurables in Germany had started in September 1939 and had already concluded that gassing these victims was efficient than administering lethal injections By the end of 1941 about 70,000 incurables had been killed at six different centres It was logical to try a few gassing experiments on prisoners in concentration camps and it did seem to work pretty well once they found something better than carbon monoxide which took too long to kill people The SS liked the gassing concept because it insulated the SS soldier from the actual killing, that was the main point Germans did not have to put up with all the screaming and misery or have to look at the dead bodies All that was the job of the Sonderkommando, which were recruited from the camp inmates Let the Jews kill themselves Let the Jews pull out their own gold teeth Let the Jews incinerate themselves So three extermination camps were constructed, and these are amazingly unfamous Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka They were specifically for killing, they did not use any prisoners for slave labour, they were located far away from population centres, way out in the Polish countryside And they were small They really should be famous, because they were extremely efficient.Belzec operated from March 42 to June 43 People killed there approximately 600,000Sobibor operated march 42 to October 43 People killed there between 200, 000 and 250,000Treblinka operated between July 42 and August 43 People killed there approximately 870,000THIS IS AN UNWRITTEN AND NEVER TO BE WRITTEN PAGE OF GLORY IN OUR HISTORY After these camps were closed their existence was removed from the face of the earth The land was ploughed, and turned back into farmland, a family was found to live there and tell anyone who asked that they had been there for generations It was as if the Nazis knew they had committed a crime and they were hiding it In the same way they always wreathed their official documents about the final solution in euphemism and opaque bureaucracy Why In exactly the same way that a psychopath like Ted Bundy or Peter Sutcliffe would carefully cover up their murders Neither the Nazis, Ted Bundy or Peter Sutcliffe believed for a moment that what they had done was wrong Not at all But they knew that other less enlightened people did think it was wrong In the Nazis case, even other Germans might think it was wrong Because they just hadn t had enough time to come to the understanding of this awful necessity, as Himmler might have put it Even Hitler had to get to a point where he realised, after years of fulminating about smashing the Jews, crushing them, destroying them, that he could actually physically kill them all He d been trying to get them to disappear for years ship them all to Madagascar was one ridiculous idea but that hadn t meant actually killing them until 1941.TO HAVE SEEN THIS THROUGH AND TO HAVE REMAINED DECENT First they drove the prisoners from the cattle trucks to the gas chambers with whips and dogs That also proved to be distressing for all concerned So they realised that treating the arrivals with cool efficiency, even courtesy, made the whole process so much easier They also discovered that it was no problem to separate the men from the women but it was counter productive to try to separate the women from their children At Treblinka they rigged up a fake jolly country railway station complete with welcoming band playing popular marches and light classical pieces, nothing too heavy Easy does it STUFF I DID NOT KNOW 1DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A BROTHEL AT AUSCHWITZ There was a hierarchy of prisoners At the bottom were the Jews considered unfit for work They were killed In the middle were the Jews, Russians and Poles who were considered fit for being worked to death At the top were kapos and German prisoners who had specialist jobs For these, Hoess set up a brothel in August 1943 The deniers have jumped on this bizarre fact a death camp with a brothel Come off it Proves it was an okay place really There were no gas chambers And so on.STUFF I DID NOT KNOW 2Jews living in the United Kingdom were handed over to the Nazis for deportation to concentration camps This was a miserable discovery What happened was that the British government decided that the Channel islands were useless and would not be defended These are islands between Britain and France which are part of Great Britain A lot of Islanders decamped for the mainland but a lot didn t The German army occupied the islands in summer 1940 without a single shot being fired Then they rolled out their Jew hating policies Now, the Nazis also hated Freemasons A not so well known fact And they wanted to deport all Jews and all Freemasons The islanders kicked up a huge protest about the masons, because the Channel Islands is a hotbed of masonry But they gave up the handful under ten of Jews without much of a murmer not that they could have done anything STUFF I DID NOT KNOW 3There s a huge, huge debate about whether the Allies could have ameliorated the suffering of the Jews by bombing Auschwitz Books, essays, letters to the editor, this has been going on a while It s the hectic part of a wider debate about what did the Allies know about the Holocaust and when did they know it Rees slashes through the nonsense He says 1 the Allies knew about the final solution by late 42 early 43 2 there was nothing they could have done which would have changed anything, either for Auschwitz specifically or anywhere else But what about this damning quote from Anthony Eden during discussions in Washington in March 1943 about Hungarian Jews all of whom were later murdered in Auschwitz he said it was important to move very cautiously about offering to take all the Jews out of a country if we do that then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar efforts in Poland and Germany Hitler may well take us up on any such offer and there are simply not enough ships and means of transportation to handle themp312 By 1943 Hitler had decided on physical liquidation, but if the offer to take all Jews had been made in 1941, then maybe, maybe Hitler would have agreed You know, I don t want to think about that.THIS BOOKIt s pretty good, very readable, but the first half is always turning into a history of the Final Solution and not a history of Auschwitz Once a couple of German companies are namechecked they don t rate any further analysis Whereas Rees devotes 13 pages to the revolt at Sobibor and eight pages to the way that Denmark protected its Jews Both of these interesting stories have nothing to do with Auschwitz I wanted to know much about the insidious, repulsive morality of the exploitation of slave labour by big German industry THE MORAL QUAGMIRE OF YOUR WAR CRIMES VS MY WAR CRIMESBritish Air Staff paper, dated September 23, 1941 The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it To ensure this, we must achieve two things first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce i destruction and ii fear of deathOscar Groening, ex SS, who worked at Auschwitz and was interviewed for this book, commented We saw how bombs were dropped on Germany, and women and children died in firestorms We saw this and said This is a war that is being led in this way by both sides.Rees spends a few frantic paragraphs explaining that there was no moral equivalent at all between the nazis gassing women and children and the Allies bombing and burning women and children It s a false comparison But he still says the comparison is emotionally disturbing one reason being that so many raised objections to the carpet bombing of German towns and cities at the time including Churchill The bombing campaign killed a minimum of 305,000 German civilians And the comparison works the bombers were distanced completely from the horror they unleashed, as the SS guards were insulated from the gassings by the use of Jews to do all the disgusting work for them Well, no.GERANIUMSAs I mentioned, the SS found that shepherding the Jews to the gas chambers worked much better than brutality, and one nice touch, I think you ll agree, was that someone had the idea of putting windowboxes full of geraniums outside the crematoriums There weren t any flowers anywhere else in Auschwitz, but here, where the Jews were killed, there were lots of windowboxes full of geraniums from a speech by Himmler to the SS, 6 October 1943 Hence, the person who doesn t even realise that other people will think what he has done is a crime is insane.
My favorite quote I now live by came from this book.when a survivor was asked how he made it through Auschwitz, he replied worse things have happened to better people I think twice about my woes when I think of his response The real bloodbath was about to begin One word for it,Excruciating I don t know what else to say, I m too dumbfounded to speakHaving suffered in the camp himself for nearly two years, Paczy ski felt no great emotion as he saw these people go to their deaths One becomes indifferent Today you go, tomorrow I will go You become indifferent A human being can get used to anything