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Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers Paperback – August 24, 1999
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A very detailed description of day-to-day life, if we can call it that, in Hell's inmost circle...jammed with infernal information too terrible to be taken all at once. (Terrence Des Pres)
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David Irving, the notorious holocaust denier, contends that the Nazis could not have killed eleven million, simply because of the amount of coke/charcoal needed to burn that many bodies. How did that happen in Auschwitz? Muller describes how Master Sergeant Otto Moll (who was in charge of the gas chambers) had the prisoners build large pits to burn an anticipated influx of Hungarians. These pits included brick "channels," which funneled the melted body fat from the fire into large cauldrens. The melted fat was then dumped back on top of the bodies, to encourage the fire & save on coal, fuel oil, and fire wood.
There are dozens--if not hundreds--of books about Auschwitz. Many are better written than "Eyewitness." Just off the top of my head, Borowski's collection of short stories "This Way for the Gas, Ladies & Gentlemen," Wiesel's "Night," Levi's "Survival"--they have better writing. But none of those books grasp the enormity of the sonderkommando experience, because none of those three were in the sonderkommandos like Muller. Similarly, Steiner's "Treblinka" is a more complete picture of the origin and evolution of the gas chambers. But Muller writes what he saw--what he lived--in a way that is unbearably moving. If you want to get a picture of Auschwitz, read this book--and Sara Nomberg-Przuytyk's "Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land."
All that said--let me get down from my high horse.Read more ›
The Wannsee Conference, at which the forthcoming destruction of the Jews of Europe was discussed, more-or-less detailed and finalized, had taken place on 20 January 1942, scarcely three months prior to Filip Muller's arrival at Auschwitz, and so the Nazis were not yet well organized and prepared for the huge catastrophe they were about to wreak on Europe. It must be said, though, that the destruction of Europe's Jews was already well under way, gassings at Chelmno having successfully started in December 1941, with the simple expedient of packing gullible, naked Jews into vans and killing them with carbon monoxide from the exhausts. It worked extremely well, and most of the Polish and German populations of Chelmno (renamed Kulmhof by the Germans) knew what was happening, as is evidenced in post-war testimonies by both Poles and Germans.
With this background one can return to Filip Muller. In May 1942 he and an acquaintance were thrown, as punishment, into the crematorium of Auschwitz I, to assist with the burning of bodies in the few ovens available alongside the one gas chamber. After this colossal shock, well and clearly described in the book, Muller was kept on as a worker in the gas chamber and crematorium of this first Auschwitz camp.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sad but true history. One of the best books I ever read, andI will never forget.Published 1 month ago by Chasity And Eric Caviness
This book should be required reading for all High School juniors. After this read, socialism leaning folks would be so happy that they live in the United States of America and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Donald J. Krueger
This book is a tear jerked. I'm reading it for my European History class and it is so sad that it's difficult to read.Published 4 months ago by MacKenzie
This is an incredible book of what actually happened at Auschwitz, because the author actually lived & worked there for 3 years in the middle of the worst time (April 1942 to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by G. M. C.
Very interesting to read about how he survived and dealt with all the horrible conditionsPublished 6 months ago by Wade Drake