Monday, October 22, 2012

Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli

It's not often that you'll catch me reading a nonfiction, be it a history, memoir, self help, etc.. If I read a book, it's to lose myself in an entirely different world, take a break from reality. In reading Auschwitz, a memoir told by a Jewish doctor who was more or less forced into helping the Nazis with their torturous science experiments in Auschwitz, I found myself taken back into the last months of the second World War, which may be real, but is as different a world as any fantasy world could be. This short tale was emotional and moving, and I think it should be required reading, just as Elie Wiesel's Night has been in recent years; 4 out of 5 stars for being so gripping a story as it was.

Auschwitz tells of Nyiszli's own capture by the Nazis, and of his choice between hard labor and an early death, or assisting the Nazis by performing 'experiments' on other prisoners in exchange for an extended, but still limited, life. Frankly, I would have refused, and sent myself to an early grave, than be forced to kill innocents just for the sake of Hitler's absurd pseudo-science experiments performed on concentration camp prisoners. How could someone play such a hand in the destruction of their own people? The foreword of this book essentially asked the same question, and while I can understand his fear and his willingness to do anything to stay alive, and hopefully keep his family alive, I still don't think I would have been able to make the same decision as Nyiszli.

This story was very moving, and you just can't help but be pulled into the pages. I found myself reading late into the night, to see what kinds of horrors were in store for him, even as the inevitable end of the Nazi regime came into sight (of course, being an Auschwitz prisoner, Nyiszli wasn't privy to such information regarding the war, so I supposed it was never almost over for him until it was actually over). Definitely a recommended reading for anyone interested in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust, particularly for anyone looking for a story told through the eyes of someone behind the walls at Auschwitz. Just keep tissues nearby, and be prepared for graphic descriptions of what sort of fate the Nazis had in store for their concentration camp prisoners..

Probably one of the saddest pictures of shoes on the internet. Besides crocs.

- Justin

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