Auschwitz: A History

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9780141021423: Auschwitz: A History

At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz. In a total inversion of earlier hopes about the use of science and technology to improve, extend and protect human life, Auschwitz manipulated the same systems to quite different ends. In Sybille Steinbacher's terse, powerful new book, the reader is led through the process by which something unthinkable to any European in the 1930s had become a sprawling, industrial reality during the course of the world war. How Auschwitz grew and mutated into an entire dreadful city, how both those who managed it and those who were killed by it came to be in Poland in the 1940s, and how it was allowed to happen, is something everyone needs to understand.

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About the Author:

Sybille Steinbacher teaches at The University of Bochum. She is currently Visiting Fellow at Harvard University.Shaun Whiteside is a previous winner of The Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translations, and translator of The Birth of Tragedy and Musil's The Confessions of Young Torless for Penguin Classics. He lives in London.

From Booklist:

Steinbacher posits that the purpose of her book is to represent the various aspects of the history of Auschwitz in their most important contexts; to draw attention, within the wider perspective of political and social history, to the historical and political space in which the crimes were committed; and to sketch the subsequent history of the camp. She believes that Auschwitz was the focus of the two main ideological ideas of the Nazi regime: it was the biggest stage for mass murder of European Jewry, and at the same time a "crystallization point of the policy of settlement and 'Germanization.'" The author traces the history of the town of Auschwitz (known as Oswiecim under Polish rule) and of the camp and its subcamps. Steinbacher discusses the Nazis' extermination policy, their first experiments in mass killings, the construction of Birkenau, the murder of non-Jews, the town and camp after liberation, and the trials of several hundred SS members after the end of World War II. A final chapter deals with the extreme right-wing apologists who have denied the mass murder of the Jews. A multitude of books have been written on the camp, yet this brief volume has much to offer both laypersons and scholars interested in its history. First published in Germany in 2004, this is a cogent, penetrating work in the study of the bestiality of Auschwitz, suitable for inclusion in all history collections. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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