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This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Paperback – February 28, 1976


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (February 28, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140041141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140041149
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Byrd on November 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
There is a spare simple honesty about Tadeusz Borowski's fictionalized account of his experiences in Auschwitz and Dachau - so much so that it almost seems false to use the same language while recommending it to others. There is nothing I can say that will adequately recreate the intensity Borowski achieves without resorting to hyperbolic extremes, which would actually diminish, rather than augment, his effectiveness. His stories need neither critique, sanction, nor acclaim.

What I can say about this collection is that I had an immediate visceral reaction to the events and descriptions of the first story - This Way for the Gas - and though some of that wore off as I continued, it was replaced with an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that what I think I know about myself and the world, instead of being based on a lifetime of experience, is actually a comfort zone of what I'm willing to believe. Borowski's account of 'normal' behavior in the camps - a direct result of the insane horror of the conditions - is a frightening addition to the crematoriums and the gas chambers. The idea that there was a third group, one between the perpetrators of evil and their victims, who were victims and forced to be complicit too, and who could develop a routine in the midst of the horrors they witnessed and the actions required for their survival, is elementally disturbing, and does not release any human being from its conclusions.

Once or twice, I had some small trouble following the thread of a story, but this in no way altered the impact of his overall objective. Borowski's style is plain, simple and direct - and admirable. 'This Way for the Gas' is a literature of truth, and unafraid to voice its implications, however hard they may be to see revealed. Highest recommendation.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "wermerjl" on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a person who really enjoys learning about the Holocaust and World War II, I would strongly recommend this book. The author actually experienced the cruelty of the holocaust first hand and struggled to deal with what he encountered in the camps. He explained what it was like to live day to day, always wondering what he would have to do to get that extra scrap of food, or maybe do lighter work. It sort of reminded me of the book "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" which I read years ago. Please read this book to better understand the kind of suffering that the victims of the Holocaust endured so that it never happens again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the annals of holocaust literature, this is one of the more unflinching collection of death camp stories, as it depicts the stark reality of the desperate situation of those ensconced in concentration camps, where the final solution was frantically put into play. The stories are of the unimaginable and the nearly unendurable, replete with the inherent pathos of the situation of the truly desperate. It is shows the desensitization that takes place in order for one to survive the horrors of a death camp. It is an unapologetic dissertation of what camp life was truly like for those for whom surviving was the bottom line. It also shows how the Jewish people were clearly singled out for mass extermination.

The author himself survived two death camps, Auschwitz and Dachau, where he had been imprisoned from 1943 to 1945, as a young man in his early twenties. Born in the Ukraine in 1922 to Polish parents who spent time in Siberian labor camps, the author was no stranger to hardship. Yet, he was little prepared for man's inhumanity to man. His time in the death camps was to form an indelible impression on him, resulting in this collection of stories, which chronicle man's inhumanity to man. It shows how camp culture made all those within its sphere participants in its reign of terror and in the final solution. In the end, having survived the unimaginable, the author committed suicide in 1951, choosing to gas himself to death. The irony inherent in his choice of death is not lost upon the discerning reader.
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