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An Auschwitz Doctor's Eyewitness Account: The Tall Tales of Dr. Mengele's Assistant Analyzed

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Everyone knows Dr. Josef Mengele, the evil Auschwitz doctor who sent countless Jews to the gas chambers, performed cruel, pointless medical experiments on inmates, and gave twin research a bad reputation. But how do we "know" about his many diabolic deeds? The most important source for what Mengele is said to have done at Ausch­witz comes from the Hungarian Jew Mikl�s Nyisz Everyone knows Dr. Josef Mengele, the evil Auschwitz doctor who sent countless Jews to the gas chambers, performed cruel, pointless medical experiments on inmates, and gave twin research a bad reputation. But how do we "know" about his many diabolic deeds? The most important source for what Mengele is said to have done at Ausch­witz comes from the Hungarian Jew Mikl�s Nyiszli, a forensic physician who claims to have been Dr. Mengele's assistant at Auschwitz. In 1946, he published a book about his traumatic experiences while he was at Auschwitz. Over the years, his book has been translated into all major languages of Europe. It has become one of the mainstays of the orthodox Auschwitz narrative, right next to the testimonies of other key witnesses, such as that of the former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf H�ss, or of Elie Wiesel. As influential as Nyiszli's book has been in forming the world's opinion about Auschwitz, Nyiszli's various writings have never been subjected to thorough critical scrutiny. The present book changes this. Part 1 of this book contains a faithful translation of the original 1946 edition of Nyiszli's Hungarian book, while Part 2 makes publicly accessible for the first time essential excerpts of much-less known postwar texts by and about Nyiszli. Part 3 thoroughly scrutinizes Nyiszli's writings with what we know to be true about Auschwitz from solid material facts and authentic documentation, while Part 4 compares his various claims with what other inmate doctors have stated who were in a similar position at Auschwitz as Nyiszli claims for himself. Part 5 takes a critical look into how orthodox historians have dealt with Nyiszli's texts, while a short essay in the Appendix lays bare the mythical nature of the clich� of Dr. Mengele as the "Angel of Death." The author's conclusion is dispositive: "Nyiszli was either an extraordinary impostor or a lunatic; there is no escaping from the dilemma. And both horns of this dilemma - shameless mendacity or lunacy - disqualify Nyiszli and completely destroy his credibility."


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Everyone knows Dr. Josef Mengele, the evil Auschwitz doctor who sent countless Jews to the gas chambers, performed cruel, pointless medical experiments on inmates, and gave twin research a bad reputation. But how do we "know" about his many diabolic deeds? The most important source for what Mengele is said to have done at Ausch­witz comes from the Hungarian Jew Mikl�s Nyisz Everyone knows Dr. Josef Mengele, the evil Auschwitz doctor who sent countless Jews to the gas chambers, performed cruel, pointless medical experiments on inmates, and gave twin research a bad reputation. But how do we "know" about his many diabolic deeds? The most important source for what Mengele is said to have done at Ausch­witz comes from the Hungarian Jew Mikl�s Nyiszli, a forensic physician who claims to have been Dr. Mengele's assistant at Auschwitz. In 1946, he published a book about his traumatic experiences while he was at Auschwitz. Over the years, his book has been translated into all major languages of Europe. It has become one of the mainstays of the orthodox Auschwitz narrative, right next to the testimonies of other key witnesses, such as that of the former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf H�ss, or of Elie Wiesel. As influential as Nyiszli's book has been in forming the world's opinion about Auschwitz, Nyiszli's various writings have never been subjected to thorough critical scrutiny. The present book changes this. Part 1 of this book contains a faithful translation of the original 1946 edition of Nyiszli's Hungarian book, while Part 2 makes publicly accessible for the first time essential excerpts of much-less known postwar texts by and about Nyiszli. Part 3 thoroughly scrutinizes Nyiszli's writings with what we know to be true about Auschwitz from solid material facts and authentic documentation, while Part 4 compares his various claims with what other inmate doctors have stated who were in a similar position at Auschwitz as Nyiszli claims for himself. Part 5 takes a critical look into how orthodox historians have dealt with Nyiszli's texts, while a short essay in the Appendix lays bare the mythical nature of the clich� of Dr. Mengele as the "Angel of Death." The author's conclusion is dispositive: "Nyiszli was either an extraordinary impostor or a lunatic; there is no escaping from the dilemma. And both horns of this dilemma - shameless mendacity or lunacy - disqualify Nyiszli and completely destroy his credibility."

30 review for An Auschwitz Doctor's Eyewitness Account: The Tall Tales of Dr. Mengele's Assistant Analyzed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    To the Holocaust denier, Dr. Miklós Nyiszli's eyewitness account to the hell that played out at Auschwitz would read like a remarkable work of fiction. To those of us living on planet earth the truth is relentless, unbearable, and should never be forgotten. All the youngsters who neglect history, and keep whining on about life need to read this. I had a pretty good idea how this was going to read, but that didn't make it any less painful. It hurt. There was just no let-up, the Nazi conveyor belt To the Holocaust denier, Dr. Miklós Nyiszli's eyewitness account to the hell that played out at Auschwitz would read like a remarkable work of fiction. To those of us living on planet earth the truth is relentless, unbearable, and should never be forgotten. All the youngsters who neglect history, and keep whining on about life need to read this. I had a pretty good idea how this was going to read, but that didn't make it any less painful. It hurt. There was just no let-up, the Nazi conveyor belt of death moving continually twenty-four-seven. Even though I knew beforehand, the amount of Jews mass murdered I still simply cannot and will not ever fully grasp, how could man do this? it's just beyond my realms of thinking. My blood runs cold just thinking about it. I am numb. For Romanian born Sonderkommando Physician Miklós Nyiszli, every second spent working under the watchful eye of S.S. Dr. Josef Mengele was sacred, death could have been waiting for him at any given time. One mistake, and it's certains. So many moments arose when he thought, that's it, only to be spared. Had he not been able to perform autopsies at the hands of the Reich, this book wouldn't exist. Hope had no place here, every Sonderkommando work unit had a life span, the new would Cremate the old. Nyiszli witnessed this twelve times during his stay, before catching sight of the last S.S. coward leaving the camp for good, closing the Iron gates, cutting off the lights, Nyiszli seeing this enormous cemetery of European Judaism sink into darkness. His eyes lingered for what seemed like an eternity, through the barbed wire fence of the camp, the rows of barracks stood out against the night sky. This cemetery of millions, without a single grave. With a racing heart, he was on the path to freedom... It all began for Nyiszli, specializing in forensic pathology and carrying out medical duties for both the police and the courts, gaining valuable experience in identifying unusual or disputed deaths in the corpses he examined. Of course this being before war broke out. Little did he realise this would not only help to save his life, but also pass on valuable knowledge in the Reich's evil machine during the final solution. He was left with little choice. After being rounded up, shipped off, to then an unknown destination, who can guess what went through his mind. Surely not this? Nyiszli lived and breathed the stale air, surrounded by the ghosts of the dead and the men of the Sonderkommando throughout his time in Auschwitz. And for a long time his account of the day to running of Auschwitz was virtually the only record of what really happened behind the gates of hell. He had many duties, from patching up prisoners and S.S. men, to later working for Josef Mengele as a pathologist. Mengele had a specific interest in anthropology, and had Nyiszli look closely at the bodies of many sets of twins, ranging from infants to those older, in the hope of learning more genetically. It also becomes apparent Mengele engaged in sadistic often fatal experiments on the living, which grossly violated commonly accepted ethical standards of medicine and clinical research. I thought this man would be as bad as it gets, who could be lower ? I was wrong. As another truly evil monster was waiting, Oberscharführer Mussfeld. At least Mengele showed the smallest amount of emotion, whilst Mussfeld was void of any. A human killing machine, the worse of his kind, who liked to put a bullet in the back of the neck of his victims, some not killed outright, left to suffer. It's off the scale thinking numbers wise, but it didn't in the least bit bother him to exterminate hundreds of screaming prisoners of all ages at a time. So along with the gas, there was the bullet, and later on not to my surprise, the flamethrower, typical Nazi mentality, no one gets an easy death, even those attempting suicide were bought back, only to end up like the rest. In fact Nyiszli helped save a member of the Sonderkommando, who tried to put himself to sleep. Others begged him to let the man go peacefully, away from this hell on earth, he didn't listen, and deeply regretted his decision. On gaining more trust with Mengele, and not talking on subjects other than work, Nyiszli, with an air of confidence simply asked one day 'when is this all going to stop?', Mengele replied 'never, it goes on and on and on'. Nyiszli knew, that if he dared to raise his voice or act with criticism and doubts, his life might well be forfeit, and the descriptions in his accounts here show how careful he had to be in regards his relations with Mengele. He walked on a fine tightrope. Never to over step the boundary of his status. He needed to remind himself from time to time that despite having extra privileges, he was still a dead man walking, it was only a matter of time. He writes as a doctor, or in other words, as a dispassionate clinical observer, perhaps this was the only way of escaping his torment, and the numbing horrors that were carried out not far from his room. The clinical, factual nature of events gives this account added value. It's written in a way that shows self-control rather than an out pouring of grief and pain. But this is clearly hard to contain, as many times you feel he just wants to break down, who can blame him? It's all about what his eyes witness, not the mind, his own thoughts are second nature, although his wife and daughter remain close in his heart, he had little time to dwell on the chimneys of doom, or the screams of the many, having become so use to them. What good would it have done anyway? All he could do was please the S.S with his work, carry on living, until he didn't. But a breakthrough came when an attack by kommando rebels claimed one of the four crematorium as well as many S.S. This was the beginning of the end, and the Reich knew it. With the Red Army approaching, the S.S. destroyed as much of the camp as they could before fleeing, and for the first time since his arrival, Miklós Nyiszli was filled with hope of getting out alive. And thus telling the world about the worst atrocity to hit the 20th century. Miklós Nyiszli died in may 1956, I hope his final thoughts were filled with love and his family, not the barbaric bastards who held him captive.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Casey

    This was a short and gripping read, and tells a story that must never be forgotten. I am writing this review not to comment on the story itself, but in response to some of the criticisms I have read about the book. Criticism #1: Dr Miklos Nyiszli was at Birkenau rather than Auschwitz, and there are several inconsistencies in the book between Auschwitz and Birkenau. Response: Auschwitz and Birkenau were part of one larger complex collectively called Auschwitz. I believe that perhaps the colloquia This was a short and gripping read, and tells a story that must never be forgotten. I am writing this review not to comment on the story itself, but in response to some of the criticisms I have read about the book. Criticism #1: Dr Miklos Nyiszli was at Birkenau rather than Auschwitz, and there are several inconsistencies in the book between Auschwitz and Birkenau. Response: Auschwitz and Birkenau were part of one larger complex collectively called Auschwitz. I believe that perhaps the colloquial references to the name of the camp heard while living there are just simply unclear to those of us who weren't there. I sometimes found the descriptions of the layout of the camp in the book confusing, but I believe they made sense with Dr. Nyiszli's recollection of Auschwitz-Birkenau when he was there. Criticizm #2: The doctor's descriptions seem detached, therefore the book may have been written by someone else. Response: Technically, the TRANSLATION was written by someone else. I think the phrase "lost in translation" may describe the feeling some readers have expressed. My Criticism: I felt throughout the book that Dr Nyiszli probably was responsible for more of the medical "experiments" (atrocities) than he claimed responsibility for in the book, and pointedly left out details for what he was not proud of. Dr. Mengele was a really bad dude, and I don't think the author would have established the level of trust with Mengele that he did without being more menacing himself. That being said, whatever the doctor did certainly saved his life, and shocking readers with more details of gruesome medical experiments would have people shun the rest of the story. I don't think this book was published until several years after the doctor's death, and I would not be surprised if I found out that someone close to the author edited out gruesome parts of the manuscript before publication. If that happened, it may also explain some of the disconnectedness some readers felt about this book. Overall, I think this was a VERY worthwhile read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that Holocaust memoirs can at this distance in space and time become something they were not meant to be, something disreputable, something akin to the torture porn of modern horror movies like Saw or Hostel. If you read a number of these memoirs you get to be a connoisseur of atrocities. When you find yourself being able to explain why Mauthausen was worse than Dachau, and how Treblinka and Chelmno differed from Stutthof and who Irma Grese was, and you are not your Unfortunately, it seems to me that Holocaust memoirs can at this distance in space and time become something they were not meant to be, something disreputable, something akin to the torture porn of modern horror movies like Saw or Hostel. If you read a number of these memoirs you get to be a connoisseur of atrocities. When you find yourself being able to explain why Mauthausen was worse than Dachau, and how Treblinka and Chelmno differed from Stutthof and who Irma Grese was, and you are not yourself a professional historian, it may be that you should stop reading them.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arnab Das

    To say that Aushwitz is an interesting read would be a gross understatement. Aushwitz is a historical document. A memoir. A brilliant commentary. And most importantly an insider's tale of the horrors that the captives of one of the most dreadful concentration camps in history underwent. As a result, an attempt to rate the book on its literary value is not only a useless exercise but also a disrespectful one. Dr. Nyiszli's account portrays the terrible crimes and the injustice meted out to the Jew To say that Aushwitz is an interesting read would be a gross understatement. Aushwitz is a historical document. A memoir. A brilliant commentary. And most importantly an insider's tale of the horrors that the captives of one of the most dreadful concentration camps in history underwent. As a result, an attempt to rate the book on its literary value is not only a useless exercise but also a disrespectful one. Dr. Nyiszli's account portrays the terrible crimes and the injustice meted out to the Jews in the name of racial purification. The demented doctors, who he unequivocally calls criminals, the cruel and heartless SS soldiers, the helpless sonderkommandos, the crematoriums, the deaths, the cries for help, the sound of bullets ending lives all flash vividly in front of the reader. Reading this book does give the reader a glimpse, even though a small one, of a time when torture and killing en masse was commonplace. The accounts are so horrific, that for a person in the 21st century cribbing about internet freedom, it seems quite Orwellian. There is no doubt that the Holocaust was one of the darkest periods in history and Dr. Nyiszli reveals from his unique perspective the tale of a populace who had to suffer tragedies of unimaginable proportions to suit the whims and fancies of a delusional and troubled animal they once called the Fuhrer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rich Weiss

    I have read a number of books about the holocaust, mainly from those who were imprisoned in Auschwitz or several of the other concentration/death camps. This was the only book from the perspective of a "prisoner" who received special treatment because he was selected to assist Dr. Joseph Mengele. The emotion didn't hit home with me. Although Nyiszli explained what happened in the camp, he didn't impart a personal feeling of terror. What's more, he sanitized his role in medical experiments, indica I have read a number of books about the holocaust, mainly from those who were imprisoned in Auschwitz or several of the other concentration/death camps. This was the only book from the perspective of a "prisoner" who received special treatment because he was selected to assist Dr. Joseph Mengele. The emotion didn't hit home with me. Although Nyiszli explained what happened in the camp, he didn't impart a personal feeling of terror. What's more, he sanitized his role in medical experiments, indicating that, although his "subjects" were just killed before he examined the bodies, he never took part in their execution. When you know the facts, that people were tortured to death by Mengele by cutting out body parts without anesthesia, or slowly killing victims with electrical shocks, or freezing them in ice water, it's odd that none of this came out in this book, as if Nyiszli downplayed many of the horrors that he must have not only encountered but for which had been involved. Although this was a good read, the story is told by someone with special privilege, even though he was a Jew in a place where every other Jew was starved, beaten, tortured or gassed to death.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Despite the incredibly difficult subject matter, this book was a surprisingly fast read. Equally horrifying and compelling, both my roommate and I read it cover to cover within 24 hours. Nyiszli's story is remarkable, as a man who survived certain death by systematically aiding in the killing of his own people, bringing into question the true cost of survival. His narrative is invaluable, as it preserves a virtually clinical dictation of what truly transpired from within the ranks. This preserva Despite the incredibly difficult subject matter, this book was a surprisingly fast read. Equally horrifying and compelling, both my roommate and I read it cover to cover within 24 hours. Nyiszli's story is remarkable, as a man who survived certain death by systematically aiding in the killing of his own people, bringing into question the true cost of survival. His narrative is invaluable, as it preserves a virtually clinical dictation of what truly transpired from within the ranks. This preservation undermines the Nazi aim of concealment, exposing every last inhumane and evil act committed by the regime and the author himself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Really, I probably need a few days to digest this book before I review it, but here are some of my thoughts: 1. I've read many books about the holocaust, but this is the first personal account of life directly within a death camp that I've read. Though I knew some of the horrors that went inside, I had no idea how atrocious they were, or that they were committed in the name of science. I'm sure there was much omitted from Dr. Nyiszli's account, but this book gives the reader a fairly good idea of Really, I probably need a few days to digest this book before I review it, but here are some of my thoughts: 1. I've read many books about the holocaust, but this is the first personal account of life directly within a death camp that I've read. Though I knew some of the horrors that went inside, I had no idea how atrocious they were, or that they were committed in the name of science. I'm sure there was much omitted from Dr. Nyiszli's account, but this book gives the reader a fairly good idea of just how demented members of the Third Reich were. 2. Some have criticized the lack of emotion in the book. First off, Nyiszli states right off that he is writing as a doctor and not for literary acclaim. That in and of itself warrants a more detached narrative. Secondly, to have done what he did and survived with even a shred of sanity he would have had to almost completely detach himself from the situation he found himself in. Finally, I was grateful for the clinical way Nyiszli wrote of his experiences. Perhaps I am just extremely sensitive, but the book had a profound effect on me as is. I do not think I would have been able read the book in its entirety had it contained more emotion. 3. I thought that it was a book worth reading - one that made you think and ask questions. How could this have happened? At what point does what would normally be considered unethical become Okay or even an act of mercy? Is survival a good enough reason to assist in such heinous experimentation, even with the rationalization that the Nazis had already killed the victims and he was just following orders where disobedience meant death? What would I have done had I been in Nyiszli's shoes? Would my decisions have been any better if placed under the same strain. I would like to think that I could and would have died with honor instead of living with regret, but who knows what my mental state would have been in the same circumstances.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    How does one rate a book like this? It doesn't tell a story, it's a memoir and an account of witness. It's a telling that needs to be told but it's not a comfortable read. The people in this book, those who can't tell their stories, need to have their story told. But it's not easy (and it shouldn't be). Five stars for the courage to tell the story. Five stars for remembering those who can't tell their story. The author tells his story in an unemotional way. As I read his account I began to under How does one rate a book like this? It doesn't tell a story, it's a memoir and an account of witness. It's a telling that needs to be told but it's not a comfortable read. The people in this book, those who can't tell their stories, need to have their story told. But it's not easy (and it shouldn't be). Five stars for the courage to tell the story. Five stars for remembering those who can't tell their story. The author tells his story in an unemotional way. As I read his account I began to understand that when one is surrounded by these atrocities and witnesses them, when one's own life hangs on a whim of another, that one would/could distance oneself from that immediate horror and emotion would slip into one's interior space. One would witness but perhaps not feel on the surface of one's being but somewhere deep inside instead, where its hidden from view. It's a survival mechanism; a way to stay sane. Even after liberation, allowing one's emotions to the surface would be devastating to the battle of trying to live again in some "normal" way. The unemotional aspect of survival & guilt hits home about half way through this book. It's horrifying, really. At times, there seem to be jumps in time and/or thought from one paragraph to another. It sometimes reads a bit disjointedly. Some things may be missing from the telling or perhaps the translation isn't the best. However, the details provided are enough to demonstrate the horrors and terror of living inside the crematorium, knowing that you can't be allowed to live because of what you've been forced to see and do. This story is horrific. I'm glad I read it. I'm glad that people such as Miklos Nylszli had the courage to tell the story of those who can't do so.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    My uncle reccommeded this book to me because my grandfather liberated this camp when he was in the war. At the end of this book it tells about how a US light tank comes in to set them all free and my grandpa was in that tank. For years I have heard throught the family about that day so for me this was a great book with lots of insight so I was able to make the connection between what was happening in the camps up to the point of where my grandfathers stories start.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anushree

    Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklós Nyiszli My Rating: I find myself incapable of rating this testimony of the excruciating horrors inflicted by human beings on fellow human beings and I decided to only write my thoughts rather than a review Dr. Miklós Nyiszli has categorically specified that this is not meant to be a literary piece (although the account must be the bravest non-fiction so far – if it is to be seen only through a reader’s point of view - coming from an eye-witness wh Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklós Nyiszli My Rating: I find myself incapable of rating this testimony of the excruciating horrors inflicted by human beings on fellow human beings and I decided to only write my thoughts rather than a review Dr. Miklós Nyiszli has categorically specified that this is not meant to be a literary piece (although the account must be the bravest non-fiction so far – if it is to be seen only through a reader’s point of view - coming from an eye-witness who was present on the camp for 12 laborious months) but it is only meant to be a first-hand testimony for the world to know what happened to their fellow human beings behind those hard-wearing camps in Auschwitz. He was appointed as one of the infamous Sonderkommando, prisoners who worked for the German forces to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims or to aid with other work related to extermination of the millions of innocents who came to the Auschwitz whose life span is not more than a meager 4 months themselves. Here he was made to perform experiments on the corpses of the various fatalities for a pathetic research (racial and pathological) that was being conducted by a demented monstrous doctor called Dr. Menegle. Dr. Nyiszli, describes in detail, the horrors that went on inside the camp. The gas chambers, the bullet in the neck, the pyres, the experiments, the dissections. He tells us the journey from his arrival till his freedom – about how he narrowly stole himself from the jaws of death, about how he had to turn his heart into stone in order to keep his sanity intact, about how in some way he strived to make sure that the savagery happening inside the barbed fence wires of Auschwitz goes out in the open and be known to the world outside, about how out of desperation a fellow group of human beings started feasting on the flesh of fellow human beings. He tells us how in the events such as these it becomes extremely important to save one’s own life than take pity on others. He wasn’t strong willed. He was not hopeful of his own survival either. He was just one of those lucky ones who had a good degree and a better advantage above others. Had that not been he would have been one of the “Thirteenth Sonderkommando”s who had to give up on life in the most disastrous ways after their 4 months of service. He was the one who lived to tell his tale. P.S.: I browsed through some more literature about this book and I found a quite detailed introspection about the authenticity of Dr. Nyiszli’s claims. (http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v20/v20n1p20_p...). A careful analysis of the book reveals certain discrepancies in what has been written by Dr. Nyiszli, as compared to what really happened, as is expected for a gargantuan phenomenon such as Holocaust and The Final Solution. Facts starting from Dr. Nyiszli’s existence till the factual descriptions of Auschwithz’s crematoriums and chambers were investigated several times and in this particular study conducted by Charles Provan, it is seen that Dr. Nyiszli did exist at Auschwitz during the mentioned period, however suspicions of his having collaborated with Germans (especially his SS superiors for certain favors) have been expressed and none have been able to completely demolish them. So whether Dr. Nyiszli wrote the book out of guilt and shame or whether he really has undergone the torture and later set free is yet to be established. I do not know the truth either and I do not know whether after decades of the horrendous past it would be feasible for the ENTIRE truth to be uncovered. I only know that the atrocities were real. The horrifying details of the millions of innocents exhumed under pretentious lies were real. Some escaped, some could not. Accounts of human beings turning into vicious monsters still are a reality none can escape. So even if Dr. Nyiszli did turn into a monster himself, we know that at least some parts of this book are true. And those parts are enough to shatter all my positive perceptions of human behavior in extreme calamities. We do not know and would never know what a man is capable of doing to other man.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This is not an easy book to read. it concerns the eyewitness account of a Hungarian Jewish doctor who was able to survive in Auschwitz by using his skills to assist the German doctors there, led by Josef Mengele, the notorious "Angel of death." he tells how the doctors would wait for the arrivals, and choose whether they would live or die-right-life by labour, left-immediate death in the gas chambers. because he Uses his medical skills are used to care for the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoner This is not an easy book to read. it concerns the eyewitness account of a Hungarian Jewish doctor who was able to survive in Auschwitz by using his skills to assist the German doctors there, led by Josef Mengele, the notorious "Angel of death." he tells how the doctors would wait for the arrivals, and choose whether they would live or die-right-life by labour, left-immediate death in the gas chambers. because he Uses his medical skills are used to care for the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners forced to work in the crematoriums and who were always killed after 4 months of work. He also worked as a pathologist for Mengele. Before I continue, Dr. Nyiszli must be considered with eyes that see "you have to walk a mile in a man's shoes before you judge him." Should he have refused or continued to save his life? It is a question that is difficult to answer unless you have experienced this yourself, and very few have. would his death had made any difference either way? Of course not. If he had said no he would just have become another body fed to the ovens. The only fact that might have saved him mentally was that he was used to dealing with dead bodies. In order to justify to himself what he is doing, he decides to do everything he can to survive and tell the world what happened. Most methods of extermination have been discussed many times, but I found one used on the Sommerkommando group near the end of the war to be one of the most horrific I have ever read, and new to me. This group was taken out into the woods and killed by flame throwers. However, even horribly burned, some lived to suffer horribly before a mercy shot was given. This has to be one of the most inhumane ways of killing that I have ever seen. I believe this book should be required reading for every college student today. We must never forget this horror perpetuated by the Nazi's, yet today, many deny these things happened. Highly recommended for those who can take it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mustapha

    An astoundingly important insight into the psychology of a man who aided in the destruction of his own peoples, to improve his own chances of survival.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tami Bussing

    I couldn't get through it. Just too horrific I couldn't get through it. Just too horrific

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Miklós Nyiszli was one of the prisoners of Auschwitz, but in the selection process, when he revealed he was a doctor, he was chosen as doctor Mengele’s assistent. The book, as all holocaust biographies, is an important account of a horrible time. It is full of tragic, devastating situations, some of them containing a hint of hope. I think of the girl that survived the gas chambers, the the woman and child hiding several days in the camp and the rebellion of the Sonderkommando, working in the crem Miklós Nyiszli was one of the prisoners of Auschwitz, but in the selection process, when he revealed he was a doctor, he was chosen as doctor Mengele’s assistent. The book, as all holocaust biographies, is an important account of a horrible time. It is full of tragic, devastating situations, some of them containing a hint of hope. I think of the girl that survived the gas chambers, the the woman and child hiding several days in the camp and the rebellion of the Sonderkommando, working in the crematorium. Unfortunately, there are not so many happy endings. Nyiszli was near death constantly, and very close to be killed two times. He was extremely lucky to survive both a roll call when every one else were killed, and the very gas chamber, when he was saved in the last moment. The book is uneven. It is not well written at all, but it doesn’t matter. It has other values. However, there are some thoughts worth discussing. The things the author had to do as doctor Mengele's assistant were horrible, of course, but sometimes, I wonder if he tells the whole truth. I feel Nyiszli tries to justify himself too much, as if he has a reason. The parts about his family must have been very emotional for him, of course. I would have liked more thoughts and feelings about his family, but the book is somewhat matter-of-factly written. He wrote the book shortly after the war, and perhaps it was a defense mechanism he needed for even managing to write a book about his experiences. Perhaps, some memories were too personal and he didn't want to share them. Anyway, I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to read the book, and get an insight into the author's experiences. In fact, the not very emotional style has an advantage. It is interesting to read about the holocaust and Auschwitz from that perspective because it gives a kind of overview. I think he mentions many details that other books don’t. Most prisoners probably never knew this much, and therefore, this book is very important.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I find it hard to write an accurate review of this book. The topic of the book does not lend itself to be titled a "good book", but the story was gripping and detailed and it was hard to walk away from the book, regardless of the topic. While the book was written clearly in the style of someone who is used to detaching themselves emotionally and sticking with facts, I think it helps in getting across the points he wished to accomplish. The facts and numbers are so staggering that it sometimes fe I find it hard to write an accurate review of this book. The topic of the book does not lend itself to be titled a "good book", but the story was gripping and detailed and it was hard to walk away from the book, regardless of the topic. While the book was written clearly in the style of someone who is used to detaching themselves emotionally and sticking with facts, I think it helps in getting across the points he wished to accomplish. The facts and numbers are so staggering that it sometimes feel like you are reading a story of fiction instead of fact. But most stories from survivors and anything read about the camps leave this feeling. The book was an amazingly smooth and fast read especially considering the topic and I found his style of emotional detachment in his writing easier for me to take those facts in as a whole. Where normally a book with this sensitive topic I would need to take breaks from my readings to process and to deal with the feelings of depression and heaviness, this book portrayed the facts in a way that made it easier to move through the book at a faster rate. I finished the book feeling more informed, mourning the loss of the sheer numbers of people killed without thought but still detached enough to slowly process what I read without the heavy, somber feeling one would get with reading such a heavy and heart breaking topic. I don't actually know whether this is good or bad though...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mélanie

    There are some books that you just can't comment on. Not because you have nothing to say, but because there simply are no words to express how you feel about what you've read. If I could propose a review in images only, they would be the following: -shocked gaze of a brown eye -faces, bleak with despair -clouds of black smoke -a flash of stainless steel -shimmer of gold on bone -orange flames streaming from chimneys I read this account because I had studied bits of the holocaust in University, and hav There are some books that you just can't comment on. Not because you have nothing to say, but because there simply are no words to express how you feel about what you've read. If I could propose a review in images only, they would be the following: -shocked gaze of a brown eye -faces, bleak with despair -clouds of black smoke -a flash of stainless steel -shimmer of gold on bone -orange flames streaming from chimneys I read this account because I had studied bits of the holocaust in University, and having recently read Those who save Us, I found that my memories of what we had learned and discussed 10 years ago had faded. It was one thing to shock those memories back to life; but quite another thing to read a first hand account. The only reason I couldn't give it a full five stars is because of how it ended... But I suppose, having been written in a logical, no nonsense fashion by a doctor, the abrupt ending made sense. Rebuilding after a horror like that is likely a whole other story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    No words could do this first hand account near justice. 'Auschwitz' was an amazing, true tale of a WWII camp hellbent on liquidation then using their victims for scientific exploration purposes. Written by Dr. Mengele's right-hand-man of a coroner, Dr. Miklós writes from the heart what he witnessed in this man-made hell. No words could do this first hand account near justice. 'Auschwitz' was an amazing, true tale of a WWII camp hellbent on liquidation then using their victims for scientific exploration purposes. Written by Dr. Mengele's right-hand-man of a coroner, Dr. Miklós writes from the heart what he witnessed in this man-made hell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    d.a.v.i.d

    Yet another insight into Auschwitz. This time by a Jewish doctor who worked directly under Mengele. Survival is a human instinct. Immoral, amoral, who is to judge?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Generally, I dislike non-fiction. Which sounds insane when you think that my major in college is history, but there it is all the same. I tend to avoid reading non-fiction unless I have to for school, which is how the reading of this book around. I am currently enrolled in a World War II class and for our mid-term exam we are to write a paper over a book on some aspect of the war and how it has changed our understanding of the subject. Now I have read quite a lot about the Holocaust and have eve Generally, I dislike non-fiction. Which sounds insane when you think that my major in college is history, but there it is all the same. I tend to avoid reading non-fiction unless I have to for school, which is how the reading of this book around. I am currently enrolled in a World War II class and for our mid-term exam we are to write a paper over a book on some aspect of the war and how it has changed our understanding of the subject. Now I have read quite a lot about the Holocaust and have even attended various speeches and lectures given by survivors or experts in the field. I fully believe that we children of the future have to preserve the past for future generations so that nothing is forgotten. I thought I had heard all of the worst things about this period in history, but I was sadly mistaken. This book is told by, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Jewish prisoner of the extermination camp Auschwitz. He is given the position of Dr. Mengele's personal pathologist. He has to do all the autopsy that he is asked to do and also take care of the ill in all of the barracks. He explains all the horrifying things that he is required to do in this place and the toll that it takes on him as well as the three asisstants he is given. He really opens your eyes as to how much fear everyone in this camp had and how most if not all of the people that were sent Auschwitz ended up "liquidated". At some points in the story I felt like I had to be reading fiction because there is no way that one group of people could do this to another without the opressed group fighting back. Nyiszli even mentions how he can't figure out why none of them fight back. They just resign themselves to their fate and stand in line waiting their turn to be shot, gassed, or beat to death. There were so many of them that had they all gotten together and staged a revolt at some point I don't think the SS guards could have put down the revolt. I don't believe I've ever felt such pure unabashed hatred for someone than I felt about Mengele and Hitler while reading this book. I mean I've always had an intense dislike for them, who hasn't, but this book really clinched it for me. I feel like everyone everywhere should have to read this book. How can people believe that the Holocaust was made up when they read something like this. I don't think anyone could really make something like this up. I think that if there is a God that he gave Dr. Nyiszli divine asisstance because there were so many times that he should have been killed but he kept slipping by. I think he was meant to live so that he could tell his story about what really ocurred in Auschwitz when everyone else from his camp had either died or been killed. I seriously recommend going out and getting a copy of this book. It is a first hand account of what happened in one of the most reviled places man ever created. I hope you all find it as important and as moving as I have.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    I really felt that this was an important book to read. However, I just could not get over the lack of emotion I felt running through the story. I don't know if it was a defense mechanism against the horrors that this doctor saw, or if it was a somewhat hardened outlook on what transpired in the camp. I realize that one probably needed to develop a shell or cocoon around oneself in order to not go insane, but I wanted some emotion to bubble to the surface which unfortunately I did not find. I rea I really felt that this was an important book to read. However, I just could not get over the lack of emotion I felt running through the story. I don't know if it was a defense mechanism against the horrors that this doctor saw, or if it was a somewhat hardened outlook on what transpired in the camp. I realize that one probably needed to develop a shell or cocoon around oneself in order to not go insane, but I wanted some emotion to bubble to the surface which unfortunately I did not find. I really hated rating a book such as this. Do you rate the writing style or do you rate the event was my dilemma? I guess I wanted the author to make me feel something, but too often felt this was a clinical study and for that I was ever so sad. The atrocities that were done somehow seem a work of fiction. One still can't wrap their arms around what man's inhumanity could and did do. I wanted to feel that emotion, feel that the author had tried to bring emotion to his writing, but no, I felt so deprived of feelings reading it. Sad, but true, I am ashamed to admit that although this book is surely relevant, i don't really think it has much effect on the readers' way of thinking and judging of an event that changed the face of this planet. I think that even though this was a non fiction book, it read more like a work of fiction and for that I am particularly sad.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    It was very difficult for me to rate this because I did not enjoy it at all, in any way, at any time. However, it was a powerful story that deserves to be told and repeated. It wasn't pleasant, and it wasn't meant to be. It was raw and honest and horrific. If you have a weak stomach, do not read this. I have read and seen many accounts of the Holocaust, in the form of memoirs, biographies, journals, documentaries, and photos. I really thought I had a good grasp of the horror, but this book surpri It was very difficult for me to rate this because I did not enjoy it at all, in any way, at any time. However, it was a powerful story that deserves to be told and repeated. It wasn't pleasant, and it wasn't meant to be. It was raw and honest and horrific. If you have a weak stomach, do not read this. I have read and seen many accounts of the Holocaust, in the form of memoirs, biographies, journals, documentaries, and photos. I really thought I had a good grasp of the horror, but this book surprised and horrified me further. In particular, the descriptions of the autopsies on twins, the constant mass killings, and - the worst for me - the story of the 16 year old girl who survived the gas chamber, albeit only briefly.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Monty desai

    This is one hell of a book...its a true eyewitness account of "DR MIKLOS NYISZLI" who was himself a prisoner , but a prisoner physician of "AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMPS " during HITLER NAZI REGIME...This is a beautiful book describing the HOLOCAUST HORRORS faced and experienced by JEWS in Germany and other parts of EUROPE from the eyes of this doctor himself...This book gave me chills and creeps throughout the book. It's beyond my imagination just to think what horrible things this doctor was m This is one hell of a book...its a true eyewitness account of "DR MIKLOS NYISZLI" who was himself a prisoner , but a prisoner physician of "AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMPS " during HITLER NAZI REGIME...This is a beautiful book describing the HOLOCAUST HORRORS faced and experienced by JEWS in Germany and other parts of EUROPE from the eyes of this doctor himself...This book gave me chills and creeps throughout the book. It's beyond my imagination just to think what horrible things this doctor was made to do.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I've found that my mind muddles reading non-fiction accounts of the Holocaust with fictitious stories of it because sometimes it (my mind) cannot wrap itself around the fact that this horrifying event actually took place. I am FAR (imagine sixty billion miles away and then triple it and then double it and then quadruple that) from being knowledgeable on this time period and have only read a handful of books (fiction and non-fiction combined) about it. This book introduced me to the Sonderkommand I've found that my mind muddles reading non-fiction accounts of the Holocaust with fictitious stories of it because sometimes it (my mind) cannot wrap itself around the fact that this horrifying event actually took place. I am FAR (imagine sixty billion miles away and then triple it and then double it and then quadruple that) from being knowledgeable on this time period and have only read a handful of books (fiction and non-fiction combined) about it. This book introduced me to the Sonderkommando. In case anyone else is a novice like me, Wiki says: Sonderkommandos were work units made up of German Nazi death camp prisoners. They were composed of prisoners, usually Jews, who were forced, on threat of their own deaths, to aid with the disposal of gas chamber victims during the Holocaust. I imagine there would be criticism for these prisoners for "aiding" the Nazis, but I was far from criticizing the author. Reminder: this is non-fiction - not a work of fiction in which a superhero emerges and frees all the victims and where good prevails over evil. Don't even try to put yourself in their shoes with what you may have done because it's not even really imaginable, is it? I always cry while reading about the Holocaust, whether the book is sentimental or not. Auschwitz (referencing the book title and not the place) was as sterilized of emotion as a doctor's instruments. But how could I not have to set down the book and cry until I could collect myself when I read something like this?: They advanced with slow, weary steps. The children's eyes were heavy with sleep and they clung to their mothers' clothes. For the most part the babies were carried in their fathers' arms, or else wheeled in their carriages. Devastating. And then the degradation of human beings is enough to make my skin crawl. Through forced nakedness and starvation and disease. In contrast to the prisoners in the camp proper, who writhed in lice-filled boxes, who, mad with hunger, battled furiously for a scrap of bread or a piece of potato. But let's talk about the author. A doctor who became indispensable to the Nazis (that is - for an allotted amount of time until they would find a replacement). A man who not only wanted to survive for the chance to just be alive and to see his family again but to RECORD AND REVEAL WHAT HORRORS HAD OCCURRED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF AUSCHWITZ. It's a pretty damn noble reason to fight for survival. If by chance I ever get out of this place alive, I thought, and have a chance to relate all I've seen and lived through, who will believe me? Words, descriptions are quite incapable of furnishing anyone with an accurate picture of what goes on here. So my efforts to photograph in my mind all I see and engrave it in my memory are, after all, completely useless.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    I sometimes find it terribly hard to rate Holocaust related books. The odd thing is that sometimes it's not very hard and there doesn't seem to be any obvious rhyme or reason to this. I'm having a hard time with this one. The book is very informative - I've read a decent number of Holocaust books, many memoirs by Aushwitz survivors and I've even read a few by survivors who were in some way in a "special" role there. Nyiszli was, basically, the man who did the autopsies, some experiments, some mu I sometimes find it terribly hard to rate Holocaust related books. The odd thing is that sometimes it's not very hard and there doesn't seem to be any obvious rhyme or reason to this. I'm having a hard time with this one. The book is very informative - I've read a decent number of Holocaust books, many memoirs by Aushwitz survivors and I've even read a few by survivors who were in some way in a "special" role there. Nyiszli was, basically, the man who did the autopsies, some experiments, some mummification, and much else besides. He "worked" in direct contact with Mengele (I can't bring myself to put the 'Dr.' in front of that monsters name.) He was in the Sonderkommando - men who had about four months, from the time of arrival at Auschwitz, before they were killed. He was almost killed numerous times. And the time he spent in that "special" role was quite different than what the masses were dealing with as basic prisoners. On the flip side - before liberation Nyiszli did in fact spend some time as a "common prisoner" so he was one of the few to see both sides of prisoner life in the camp. The forword, by Bruno Bettelheim, is very important I think and not at all boring unlike many forewords that I've slogged through. He tells the reader something that seems to be very true - this wasn't written for any other person than to tell the facts. It's not the best written book, Nyiszli doesn't have the most eloquent voice, but it does what it set out to do - it tells the facts according to Miklos Nyiszli. I'd definitely recommend but this is another where you'll have to beware. You'll read things that will stay with you. I'm of the opinion that this is a very important thing myself. Not something to be forgotten. I was a little unsettled by Bettelheim's words about Anne Frank and her family. While I suppose he didn't say anything actually untrue it was still unsettling. I'm not sure why he felt the need to speak in the way he did but for what it's worth he did.

  25. 4 out of 5

    FrozenbySloth

    I'm not sure how one "rates" a book like this. By the writing style or the plot progression? The man who wrote this was not a poet, and he was not trying to write a novel. This is a factual retelling of something that is beyond gruesome, and even if we went so far as to call it a "plot", rating history is a ridiculous concept. So I'll leave this one unrated and say only that despite everything, this is something people must read, and I urge everybody to find the fortitude to do it. Honestly, what I'm not sure how one "rates" a book like this. By the writing style or the plot progression? The man who wrote this was not a poet, and he was not trying to write a novel. This is a factual retelling of something that is beyond gruesome, and even if we went so far as to call it a "plot", rating history is a ridiculous concept. So I'll leave this one unrated and say only that despite everything, this is something people must read, and I urge everybody to find the fortitude to do it. Honestly, what I read in the foreword really struck home. Everybody should read this; not because we want to know the statistics and the numbers, not because we should continue brewing hate or stir up unpleasant thoughts - I understand that the question "Why make life even darker?" doesn't have a very sensible answer, and reading this might not necessarily make you a great joy at parties... But the simple fact of the matter is that the victim of these accounts scratched messages on walls and hid scrolls in hopes of somebody finding them after he was gone... And even though he was already reconciled with his death, in the end he wrote books, hoping all the time that people will read and listen and someday know what happened. It is gruesome and hard to imagine. Even trying to empathize with the victims was at times hard for me because I couldn't grasp the depth of their suffering. It went so far beyond the scope of my reality I felt a vague disconnection from history and the people living through it. So, yes, emotionally or mentally it's not necessarily an easy read, but as the foreword says, "We are charged to listen." Simple as that. All of that being said, on a purely objective note - it is clearly a fascinating subject full of details that blew my mind, and it is written in a simple, concise way that's disturbingly easy to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This isn't a literary masterpiece, and it makes no claims to be. It is a rehashing of one man's experience working in the worst part of the concentration camp. These are not the kinds of books that you enjoy, but I believe they must be read and committed to memory and nothing infuriates me more then when they are dismissed as depressing or unnecessary.  Holocaust deniers use Nyiszli's account to poke holes in his story and bolster their claims while others criticize the coldness with which he rel This isn't a literary masterpiece, and it makes no claims to be. It is a rehashing of one man's experience working in the worst part of the concentration camp. These are not the kinds of books that you enjoy, but I believe they must be read and committed to memory and nothing infuriates me more then when they are dismissed as depressing or unnecessary.  Holocaust deniers use Nyiszli's account to poke holes in his story and bolster their claims while others criticize the coldness with which he relates his experience. I think, if anything, Nyiszli should be faulted for  glossing over the more horrifying aspects of his job. If he was truly the go-to guy for Mengele for so long, he surely committed worse acts than he relates in the book. If, as the deniers say, there are indeed some inconstistencies between the historical record and minute details of Nyiszli's account, I believe they unimportant to the human aspect of the story and the greater picture. These atrocities happened, and an imperfect record must be kept if we expect to retain any at all.  My real gripe with this book is the introduction. It was so callous and awful and framed my reading of the first half of the book until I decided to just dispose of it in my mind and not relate it to the experience at all. I can't think why anyone would find it appropriate to include in a book about the atrocities of Auschwitz.  I believe this was $1.99 on kindle and is fairy quick read, if you don't have to set it down to gather your composure. You probably will.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarenna

    How do you review a book like this? How do you review someone’s memoirs of a topic so horrendous? I have read several books relating to the holocaust mostly because it is a period of history that so many wish to forget about. This book touched upon the lives of a group of survivors that even fewer know about – the Sonderkommando. These are the individuals who were forced to run the crematoriums at the camps. I first read about these prisoners in Shlomo Venezia’s book Inside the Gas Chambers: Eigh How do you review a book like this? How do you review someone’s memoirs of a topic so horrendous? I have read several books relating to the holocaust mostly because it is a period of history that so many wish to forget about. This book touched upon the lives of a group of survivors that even fewer know about – the Sonderkommando. These are the individuals who were forced to run the crematoriums at the camps. I first read about these prisoners in Shlomo Venezia’s book Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz. Nyiszli worked for Mengele as his personal research pathologist. The writing was straightforward, making this a very fast (and very disturbing) read. Unlike other holocaust memoirs I’ve read, the tone of this book was detached, which bothered me immensely. Maybe going through such horrific events broke him so completely that all that remained was an empty shell. Maybe tone was lost in editing. Maybe the only way to tell this story is through detachment. Maybe he felt that was the best way to tell it. I don’t have answers. What I do know is that these kinds of stories need to be told and I’m thankful that Dr. Nyiszli had the courage to tell it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    Great personal account of the horrible atrocities that took place at Auschwitz. This account is provided by a Jew that was forced to help the Germans with their medical experiments they preformed on the prisoners. The most intriguing part of this book is the way that you feel about the author as you read. For example, Nyiszli documents step by step how the Jews (and others) were butchered in the gas houses and crematoriums right before saying he had to take a nap. It is hard to feel sorry for so Great personal account of the horrible atrocities that took place at Auschwitz. This account is provided by a Jew that was forced to help the Germans with their medical experiments they preformed on the prisoners. The most intriguing part of this book is the way that you feel about the author as you read. For example, Nyiszli documents step by step how the Jews (and others) were butchered in the gas houses and crematoriums right before saying he had to take a nap. It is hard to feel sorry for someone who is helping the Germans exterminate his own people. However, the part that makes this redeeming and a great read is that he is constantly living in fear of being killed himself for making a mistake in his work or trying to save his family from the fate that he has seen first hand. After reading the book it is hard not to have a pretty strong opinion about the author which is what I feel makes this book great. Having never lived through anything like this or really even being able to imagine the true scope of this evil I am unable to judge someone who did. Read and decide for yourself. The foreword of the book is great too. Almost as good as the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    4.5 Stars!! As expected, this book was heart wrenching and disturbing. An insightful account into life at Auschwitz written by a doctor who unfortunately had first hand experience there. Nyiszli's writing was great, which I didn't really expect as I thought this would be more of a documentary about his position as a doctor. Although the book did describe some of his work (which I'm sure would have been more greatly appreciated by someone who knows about the subject) was explained effectively, but 4.5 Stars!! As expected, this book was heart wrenching and disturbing. An insightful account into life at Auschwitz written by a doctor who unfortunately had first hand experience there. Nyiszli's writing was great, which I didn't really expect as I thought this would be more of a documentary about his position as a doctor. Although the book did describe some of his work (which I'm sure would have been more greatly appreciated by someone who knows about the subject) was explained effectively, but the main storyline based on his life was riveting. The characters who obviously are based on real people were described in such a way that, especially in the case of Dr. Mengele, you could feel like you had met him. "He looked at me steadily, his expression hardening. "What's wrong?" he said coldly, "Getting sentimental?" The only reason this book did not get 5 stars from me was the afterword. It did not seem to be in keeping with the rest of the book and I did not agree with the message it posed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ram

    The story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli who spent 8 months in Auschwitz performing autopsies for Dr. Mengele's so called "scientific" experiments and data collection on human beings. He slept for eight months near the ovens and gas chambers that killed and "liquidated" thousand and in many cases over ten thousand people a day. He was a witness to some of Mengele's twisted experiments, murder and "research". This is not good literature, and does not offer or attempt to give any explanation for the behavio The story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli who spent 8 months in Auschwitz performing autopsies for Dr. Mengele's so called "scientific" experiments and data collection on human beings. He slept for eight months near the ovens and gas chambers that killed and "liquidated" thousand and in many cases over ten thousand people a day. He was a witness to some of Mengele's twisted experiments, murder and "research". This is not good literature, and does not offer or attempt to give any explanation for the behavior of the Nazi's. Basically it offers the facts and experience of the doctor including a first hand account of the only rebellion of the Sonderkommando,( prisoners working in the gas chambers who were killed every 4 months.). As the only prisoner who witnessed the gas chambers so closely and survived this is an important document and it was a fascinating, shocking and interesting read. Except for that it is an amazing story of survival. Dr Nyiszli managed to save himself and his wife and daughter using his expertise and the fact that he was so important to Mengele.

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