- Series: Penguin Modern Classics (Book 882)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (August 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140186247
- ISBN-13: 978-0140186246
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 92 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (Penguin Modern Classics) Reissue Edition
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Polish
About the Author
Tadeusz Borowski was born in the Ukraine to Polish parents and was imprisoned in Auschwitz and Dachau from 1943 to 1945. Considered a great of postwar Polish literature, he attended a boarding schoool run by Franciscan monks and then studied literature in the underground Warsaw University—during the German occupation secondary school and college were forbidden to Poles. He was arrested in April 1943 and was held in the Pawiak prison, Auschwitz, Dautmergen-Natzweiler, and finally the Dachau-Allach camp, which was liberated by the US Army in May 1945.While much of his prewar work was comprised of poetry, his subsequent works detailing life in concentration camps were written in prose. His most famous work, a series of short stories called Farewell to Maria, was given the English title This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman. Borowski committed suicide in 1951, at the age of 28.
Top customer reviews
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Borowski was not Jewish. He was imprisoned by the Nazis for his involvement in underground educational and publishing enterprises in Occupied Warsaw. He was sent to Auschwitz as a worker, essentially a slave. He and his non-Jewish comrades were put to work building and maintaining camp infrastructure and processing the hundreds of thousands of Jews from the railway ramp, where the transport trains arrived, to the gas-chambers and crematoria, to the marshes and fields where ashes and bones were dumped.
In one of the pieces in the book, the first-person narrator writes to his fiancée, who is imprisoned at Birkenau (as was Borowski's own fiancée): "I do not know whether we shall survive, but I like to think that one day we shall have the courage to tell the world the whole truth and call it by its proper name." That, of course, is what Borowski did in THIS WAY FOR THE GAS. And for him, part of the "whole truth" was the complicity and the guilt of those who, like him, survived. (The real-life coda to the book is that Borowski, just as he was gaining acclaim as one of the literary lions of post-War communist Poland, committed suicide by inhaling the gas from a gas stove.)
It is a powerful book. If one of my sons asked me to name one book to read about the concentration camps, I would tell him "If This Is a Man", by Primo Levi. If he then asked for a second book, THIS WAY FOR THE GAS would be it.
In all such discussion, the question arises, What can one person (I) do? The answer most often is, Nothing. Until that answer changes, we are likely to see more of the same, all over the planet.
from an individual's point of view that I have ever read and I have read many
descriptions and survivor's accounts. It uses very spare language but the details it describes speak for themselves. It is more horrible than Primo Levi's works. I read these accounts as a tribute both to the dead and to the survivors of the Holocaust, so they can be remembered as individual human beings and not just as statistics. If you read Elie Weisel and Primo Levi, you should also read this book.