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Auschwitz by Laurence Rees

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

About the book

In this book, the author reveals insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Their testimonies provide a description of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.


What I love about it.

It was extremely well-researched and well-written account.

Small stories were told in crisp, vivid way that will surely imprint the images in your mind for the rest of your life.


Quotes to remember

  1. "worse things have happened to better people"

  2. “human behavior is fragile and unpredictable and often at the mercy of the situation. Every individual still, of course, has a choice as to how to behave, it's just that for many people the situation is the key determinate in that choice.”


How can I apply it’s content to my life

  1. Revenge is a dish best not served. If a victim's only sense of justice comes from victimizing his perpetrator it only perpetuates the cycle. The Germans felt victimized by the Jews in World War I (whether justified or not). If in the process of killing the monster you have to become one, have you really won?

  2. The human instinct for self-preservation can be more powerful than even our most deeply held convictions. Teaches us that when push comes to shove, the will to survive often trumps all else.

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