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The Kingdom of Auschwitz: 1940-1945 Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060976408
ISBN-10: 0060976403
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brings the reality of this evil place so directly, vividly, accurately, movingly and clearly to the mind of the reader."--Paul Johnson

From the Back Cover

A short and thoroughly accurate history of the Auschwitz concentration camp, this compelling book is authoritative in its factual details, devastating in its emotional impact.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 19, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060976403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060976408
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on August 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Kingdom of Auschwitz" is an extract from Otto Friedrich's larger, sadly out-of-print "The End of the World: A History." In that book Friedrich examined several earth-shaking events in world history including the Black Death in Europe, the 1905 Russian revolution, and the fall of Rome. The book's climax is this long essay on Auschwitz (with an epilogue speculating on the effects of possible nuclear war circa 1982.)
Friedrich was a very talented journalist with a rich appreciation of history and a hypnotically readable prose style. Here he synthesizes the best available literature about the death camp to produce what is probably the best short history of that black hole at the heart of Western civilization. This is a good place to start if you are just beginning to read about the Holocaust. Expert readers will have their sense of the horror of the place renewed. Friedrich writes that Auschwitz does not disprove God: "Two men arguing about the existence of God is like two worker ants debating the existence of Mozart." A small masterpiece.
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This is an excellent historical primer on the initiation, conduct, discovery, and destruction of the Auschwitz extermination camp (albeit with a couple of factual and critical thinking errors that need not be delved into here) as well as the disputes after World War II regarding the preservation, administration, and ideation of the camp.

The author discusses in an even-handed, almost dispassionate, manner not only the tragic events that occurred at the camp itself but (1) the association of certain German companies, namely, chemical giant I.G. Farben, with slave labor by camp inmates, (2) the failure of the West to do anything even though it was suspected as early as 1942, and duly reported in London newspapers, that 1 million people had already died in the camp (although this apparently turned out to be an exaggeration), and (3) the failure of the Allies, primarily the U.S., to bomb the railways from Hungary to Auschwitz in the closing months of the war when about 300,000 Hungarian Jews were transported (under the stewardship of Adolf Eichmann) to Auschwitz for immediate termination. (The reason the Allies repeatedly gave for not intervening was that the concentration camps were of no military importance and military assets could not be diverted from the war effort. Although, if memory serves me correctly, the complete and utter lack of a military objective did not stop Patton from diverting his troops to rescue his son-in-law from a German prisoner of war camp.)

As for whether the German people (that is, the public in general) knew about what was going on, the author gives no definitive answer. Certainly anyone involved with the use of slave labor cannot claim ignorance of their mistreatment. Nor, obviously, could anyone who worked in these camps feign lack of knowledge.
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This is a good little book about Auschwitz. It is extremely thin and easy to read (128 pages). If you just want to know a little bit about Auschwitz and are not inclined to read one of the heavy books on the subject then this may be a good alternative. I found it easy to read and did not lack any of the intensity found in the bigger volumes on the subject. It is very detailed. It is also a great book to introduce yourself on the operations of the death camps. This book may spark your interest and you may want to read further on the subject. I finished it in only a few hours. Nice and easy reading.
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I had to read this book for a Holocaust class. It is extremely short so if you aren't a reader, I am, this is for you! It is very intense and keeps your interest all the way through. A must have for everyone I think.
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Most of the previous accounts of Auschwitz that I've read have been personal accounts, most recently Rudolph Vrba's Escape from Auschwitz. While these personal accounts are quite powerful and serve to put a human face on a tragedy of almost inconceivable scope, they are only slivers of the big picture. This book provides a broad overview of the history of Auschwitz, compiled from eyewitness accounts, transcripts of war crimes trials, and the memoirs of Rudolf Hoess and other Nazi's involved in the camp. While it lacks the emotional impact of a more personal account, this book helps shed some light on the scope of the horrors of Auschwitz and Birkeneau and the holocaust in general. By itself, it is an important overview, but if read together with the stories of individual survivors, it provides context for understanding the personal accounts.
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This is a short story, one of millions of short stories that narrate the big story of the criminal and unjust treatment of the Jews and other races by the Nazis.
From the book "The evil that men do" to this one I have rad and re-read this stories in disbelieve.
Mr. Friedrich will inspire new comers to this horrors to read and learn, the evil that men can do.
Read it and see!!!!!!
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Of all the literature I have read on Auschwitz, this may have been the shortest, but it was the broadest in terms of disclosing the roots, history and back story of how Auschwitz came into existence. Additionally, the author paints a painfully detailed recount of life and death for those who found themselves behind the barbed wire death camp. The images the author conjures are haunting and horribly vivid, but it's an important part of history that will soon have no living survivors to testify as to the horror they experienced. May such atrocities and evil deeds never again befall on mankind. Truly, this essay sticks with you and should be considered required reading, not only for those who are dedicated to learning about the Holocaust, but by all. Written testimonies are the one thing that lives on after the survivors are gone to ensure that future generations will never be swayed as to the legitimacy of these kind of infamous events in history.
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