Auschwitz: A New History
Author: Laurence Rees
In Auschwitz: A New History, Laurence Rees reveals insights from more than 100 original interviews with 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—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 Hitler and Himmler to make Auschwitz the primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews and part of their "Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were the result of a terrible, immoral pragmatism. 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.