Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Horror-Filled, Necessary Read

Auschwitz:  A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli


Truly, a horror-filled read.

Nyiszli and his family were one of countless families who were bundled onto trains and shipped to Auschwitz for 'processing'.  He is separated from them, as it was the custom to remove the men from the women, the young from the old.  A split-second decision as he was disembarking likely saved his entire family from immediate death in the gas chamber.

And, yet, his story was not a happy ending.  Nyiszli had some pre-war medical experience and it is because of this he was saved.  He spent the remainder of the war doing autopsies of gas chamber victims and failed bizarre Nazi experiments. 

I've read many Holocaust survival books and stories but never one quite like this.  While he certainly had it a lot better than most, his tale was still an unbelievable and chilling read.  I was probably most disturbed by the clinical emotionless tone of the book.  His seemingly total lack of concern for the final outcome of his immediate family continues to puzzle me--one more senseless act of atrocity that can never be fully explained.

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