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Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers Paperback – August 24, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Riveting...it is a tale of unprecedented, incomparable horror. Profoundly, intensely painful; but it is essential reading. (Jewish Press)

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)

About the Author

Filip Müller was born in Czechoslovakia in 1922, was deported to Auschwitz in 1942, was liberated in 1945, and afterward lived in Western Europe.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (August 24, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566632714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566632713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen M. Zielinski on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the few books I have read on the Holocaust that takes the reader to a depth of un-imaginable horror. Filip Muller takes you on his life story up to and including his stay at Auschwitz-Birkenau with riveting detail and accuracy. The chapter titled "The Inferno" was the hardest to read, let alone envision. I have seen actual photos of the "pits" as Muller describes them, yet the reality of the ghastly work he was forced to do cannot come through in words. I would cautiously recommend this to any serious student of Holocaust history.
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By A Customer on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
[...] This book is an essential eyewitness view of life as a sonderkommando, and how the Nazi establishment in Auschwitz killed three and & half million people, all in a historically unprecidented short period of time. Muller describes the "shower" facade, and the mechanics of destroying that many bodies.
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 ›
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Format: Paperback
Filip Muller's Eyewitness Auschwitz serves as a textbook for those interested (and willing) to examine the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies and political prisoners under the Third Reich. Muller claims to have witnessed the process from it birth in Auschwitz to its death in Birkenau shortly before the camp's liberation; accordingly, he spells out the details in a disturbing, meticulous fashion. The reader finds him/herself escorted through the notorious Block 11, its courtyard, the crematoria and the open burning pits. Muller recounts everything from the logistics of the ovens to the subterfuge the SS employed to lure prisoners into the gas chambers. Instances of revolt and insight into the plans and psychology of the camp resistance are also tackled. Some readers might find the account harrowing in its attention to grisly detail and facts; at times the book reads like a news story. Hence Muller's testimony is, perhaps, best read as a companion to other accounts that delve more deeply into the survivor's mind (such as the works of Tadeusz Borowski or Primo Levi). Further, Muller writes almost exclusively as a member of the Sonderkommando--those charged with the upkeep of the crematoria. This focus comes at the expense of attention to other areas of the camp that a holocaust scholar should explore.
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Format: Paperback
Many books about Auschwitz are filled with dry narrations. It seems like people are afraid to talk about the subject, like they have the need to be politically correct or not to hurt anyone. I understand why but if you decide to write a book about subject do a good job regardless of the circumstances. This book relates the facts and everyday life in the camp the way it was. An author shares his feelings and thoughts. He describes behaviors (sometimes worse than barbaric) and survival instinct in the purest basic form. I liked this book. It is written well and it keeps reader at full attention. Chapters and story line flows smoothly. It's a book that describes harsh reality of the concentration camp that I wish no one every would have to go through again. If you liked this book there is also a similar one written by Dr. Perl called "I was a doctor in Auschwitz". Dr. Perl was a woman that went through the same thing as Muller but in the female part of the camp.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book in the spring of 1982 when I was 16. I was overwhelmed by the content and the author's description of the gas chambers at Auswitz, as well as the fine detail of the burning pits that were constructed to minimize fuel consumption as well as maximize the diposal of murdered persons. Later when I was 30 I read it again and wept for mr Muller and all those who did suffer so within the dark machinery of the SS. What I found fascinating was that the author became numb to the Horrors around him with the passage of time. This too happened to me while I read his words. He portrayed what he saw in a very vivid manner. I recommend this personal narrative very highly to those who wish to get a first hand look into the Holocaust.
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