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Auschwitz: A New History

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  8,441 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Published for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz--a devastating and surprising account of the most infamous death camp the world has ever known.
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 2nd 2005 by PublicAffairs (first published 2005)
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Paul Bryant


When you read about the Nazis there's always this strange contradiction - their famous obsession with order, with following orders, with classification, rules, hierarchy, and all of that, is superimposed upon a regime which was most of the time in chaos, ministries competing with other ministries, states (the SS) within states; for many really big projects there was a culture of no written orders, and in many cases major policies were made up on the spot.
The answer to
When it comes to complex topics like the Holocaust, I think it's helpful to read from a number of sources. And often, the best books are those that offer us something new, either by presenting a piece of the puzzle that was missing or perhaps adding additional perspective that affords us a new way of looking at an old piece, allowing us to better place it.

I'm not sure I can do a book like this justice in a review other than to say it was an excellent compliment to other readings I've done to thi
My favorite quote I now live by came from this book....
when a survivor was asked how he made it through Auschwitz, he replied "worse things have happened to better people". I think twice about my woes when I think of his response...
I've read countless books on the holocaust. I've taken classes on Genocide. The pages I've read and absorbed on hate, suffering and the amazing will to survive will never leave me. Books on Hitler. Nazis. Speer. Höss. Goebbels. Even Eva. Germany. France. Russia. Hungary. Poland. Ghettos. Stars. Treblinka. Sobibor. Ravensbruk. Dachau. And of course, Auschwitz. I've been there. I've made that climb to the Eagles Nest and viewed that panoramic sky. It's downright evil that such a place of beauty ev ...more
K.D. Absolutely
This historical non-fiction is 300 pages but I spent only 3 working days (which means I read only at home - late evening and early morning) to finish it. I just could not put it down. It is well-reseached and contains interviews of the survivors not only the Jews from diffent countries (Poland, France, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Belgium and Netherlands, etc) but also the other groups like gypsies, Jehova's Witness, etc.
Previously, my only knowledge about Holocaust was those from watching Schindl
Auschwitz: A New History was filled with new facts and numerous interviews with survivors and former SS. I liked the detailed interviews which spanned from Jewish people from numerous countries that turned them over to the Reich, gypsies, POWs, Jehovah's Witness, and other groups of people that in most books might have been passed over. It obviously gives more facts about the atrocities that occurred at Auschwitz then the other camps, but all the camps are brought up throughout the book. The inf ...more
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Gruelling of course. A chronological account of the development of Auschwitz with substantial detours into the stories of the communities of Europe that were shipped (and in a few rare cases, not shipped) to the crematoria. This is an efficient and affecting telling though it is opinionated, and has rather too much of the 'imagine how traumatic that would have been' approach.

Anyway after a difficult visit there a few weeks ago (and a poor guide) I found this sorted some residual issues in my mi
I've been interested in the history of the Holocaust ever since I first studied it in eighth grade. This book is a well-researched, extremely thorough account of what happened at Auschwitz, with many personal details from the people who were there.
I would like to preface this review by stating that I have read a great deal of Holocaust literature and each evokes in me a different emotional response, but never before has a text exposed me to both an analytical and equally sorrowful account of this dark period in history. Much like the point in time this work is based on, the subject matter is not for the faint of heart. The author does not skirt over any events that took place in Auschwitz including the part played by the Allies and the no ...more
Richard Burger
I had purchased this book hoping to learn more about daily life in Auschwitz, only to find a far more general, entry-level book on the Holocaust in general that would have been more aptly titled Holocaust 101. I almost felt swindled when I found page after page about the irrelevant rescue of the Jews from Denmark, the role of the Waffen SS and police battalions on the Eastern Front, and a long, detailed description of how the Final Solution was finally brought to Hungary in 1944 - things that ar ...more
The 5 stars I gave are not oh my gosh this was amazing 5 stars. It was I am completely speechless and cannot believe what I did not know 5 stars. I only write these reviews to print them out in my journal so 30 years from now I can laugh at how dumb I was. Or to see what I thought when I re read something. There were times in this book I went and hid in my room to cry so my wife couldn't see me. I have had countless sleepless nights. My kids have yelled out in their sleep and I have dashed into ...more
What makes this book so powerful is the use of personal interviews and personal stories. Because we are human, a personal storyhas far more resonance than a statstical number.

Rees brings out several not widely kown facts, but he also realies on a variety of eye witness accounts that bring a depth to the history. One hears the story of an adopted child who is taken from her family because her biological grandmother was a gypsy. One learns about what happens in the Channel Islands, and how Jewish
Chilling. Even more so because it is meticulously documented and footnoted. That said, Rees spread his net so wide that it bogged down, if not distracted from his central story.

Not a fun read, but a worthwhile read.

We--none of us--should ever forget that "civilized", educated, proud people did this. Intentionally, with malaise and forethought.
Matthew Barlow
This is probably one of the best books concerning the Holocaust that that I have ever read. Not because it is abound with new information, just the opposite in fact, much of the facts discussed are ones that I have heard before. What truly makes this book remarkable is the overwhelming amount of research that went into it, specifically the gathering of first hand accounts from Nazis and survivors alike. These accounts lend an unmistakable realism to the discussion. The reader is not able to disa ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Steph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Oh, man. Everyone needs to read this book.

I learned many things about Auschwitz I didn't know before. Well written, intensely researched, intricately detailed, I learned about concentration camps, work camps, and death camps. I saw how European countries were culpable in the detention and transport of Jews to Auschwitz, and how many (not all) looked on as their neighbors were taken away. I thought perhaps Germans, Poles, Slovaks, Czechs, French, etc., really weren't aware of the mass exterminati
Dan Herak
A fantastic and compelling account of the one of the worst places in history. Author Laurence Rees takes us not only to the camp but, more importantly, the context in which it was created. Auschwitz had the distinction of being the only camp within the Nazi system that was both a concentration camp (where prisoners labored for the Third Reich) and an extermination camp. How and why this came about makes for a fascinating read, as it was not created overnight or even created for the purposes for ...more
Robert Kiehn
Great book on the History of the infamous death and concentration camp where apx. 1.1 million people, maybe more, and mainly Jews, died in gas chambers then were cremated in mass numbers in Poland during WWII known as Auschwitz by author Laurence Rees.

Very well written book, it does stray from the topic of this death/concentration camp from time to time to address Holocaust denial on a few pages throughout the book, as well as camp survivor stories, stories from the Nazi's themselves that Ress h
In my personal opinion this is one of the best historical documentaries I have ever read. It honestly felt like I was reading a fictional thriller, keeping me gripped to each page wanting to know what will happen next. Although quite gruesome at times it does have moments of happiness like when the author explains many successful escape plans. This particular book was indeed quite slow at the beginning but really picked up pace shortly after.
The book conducted interviews with many prisoners o
Lynette Twaddle
Having read 'The Nazis a Warning from History' and 'The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler' I came to this book worrying how much material would have been recycled in those two later books, I was pleasantly surprised in that respect.

This volume demonstrates Rees' fantastic ability as a historian, writer (and when he doesn't go mad with graphics, producer). He has an ability to show a human side as a historian whilst not pulling any punches, or withholding upsetting information. The information is sta
Sometimes it seems the more you read and learn about certain aspects of history, the more questions you're left with. This book answers a lot of those not only in relation to Auschwitz itself but on a broader scope of the Holocaust and the war in general. It brought me to tears several times, it's more emotional than other similar books yet somehow it doesn't read emotionally, if that makes sense. It's serious and well researched, and maybe it's the honesty and forthrightness of the accounts tha ...more
This was a very moving and disturbing book. Rees interviewed dozens of Auschwitz survivors, as well as several former Nazi officials. What emerges is a shocking and sobering look at human nature in the midst of world war.

I chose to only give this book three stars because I feel that the title was deceptive. While Auschwitz was certainly a primary focus of this book, I felt that a great deal of the book focused on what led to the creation of the death camps in general. While fascinating, this was
Patrick Dinneen
A long read but very detailed, contains many interviews with survivors and even some guards that worked there. Book gives the history of Auschwitz, why it was built, how it developed and ended. Also many accounts of life there from the prisoners.

Highly recommended
Ben Smith
The Nazis and the Holocaust are two topics I have read countless books on since I was farely young. I've always found them endlessly fasicnating. The psychology of the Nazis is something that has forever puzzled me. How is it that a whole nation of civilized people can see it fit to persecute one race of people based on obviously illogical and frankly, silly reasoning?

Until now, pretty much every book I've read on the subject has kept to the idea that the Germans were pure evil, cold blooded kil
After reading The Years of Extermination, I decided I wanted to read a book specifically about Auschwitz and the Nazi camps so I selected this book. It was surprisingly readable and seamlessly brought in a lot of primary source material.

There were two types of Nazi camps: concentration/work camps and death camps. Auschwitz started as a concentration camp with German and other political prisoners. In the early years, it was possible to work there for months and then be released. When the Nazis st
Sandra Glynn
This was a difficult read, and not for the feign of heart. This book opened my eyes to the truth, to the atrocities committed during WWII, and near extinction of an entire race. At times I thought the Author was giving the Germans an excuse for the crimes that were committed. It was not until I became accustomed to the Authors cynical view of what happened that I slipped into the message, that no one is exempt even when they attempt to separate themselves from horror, which makes Hitler and his ...more
This is an excellent history that is easy to read and makes a wide variety of points on the Nazi's Final Solution and Auschwitz place within that.

I found this book easy to access, while being authoritative and tackles some of the tough questions that a reader may have on the whole issue of the Nazi Final Solution. This is a book that is worth the time reading and worth sharing with others especially those who are young.
Descriptive, informative and painful all at once. Having studied the Holocaust for the past 16 years, this book provides new and interesting information. The information is astounding. It was fascinating to read from many different perspectives of all those who were involved; victims, perpetrators, and outsiders.

One of the survivors said that Nobody knows themselves. Upon meeting someone who is kind, he wonders how kind they would be in camp. Survival is one hell of a form of betrayal. Unfortuna
Everyone should read this. Never forget.
Morgan Hudler
I love reading about the Holocaust, I like to learn about what happen and understand the thoughts behind the Nazis, and also the thoughts of the Jews. The Holocaust is one of the worst things to happen ever in mankind, with the death of over 6,000,000 Jews during World War II. In this book, it really opens your eyes to the events that took place leading to the Jews being deoprted into Auschwitz, and also the events that took place in the concentration camps. It gives actual accounts of survivors ...more
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  • Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
  • Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust
  • Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land
  • Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz
  • Witness: Voices from the Holocaust
  • The Holocaust
  • The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942
  • The Destruction of the European Jews
  • Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz
  • Treblinka
  • Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling
  • The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them
  • Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor's True Story of Auschwitz (aka I Survived Hitler's Ovens)
  • Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience
  • Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora
  • The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
  • What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany
In addition to writing, Rees has also produced films about World War II for the BBC.

In New York in January 2009, Laurence was presented with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by ‘History Makers’, the worldwide congress of History and Current Affairs programme makers

In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DUniv) by The Open University(UK).
More about Laurence Rees...
The Nazis: A Warning from History World War II: Behind Closed Doors; Stalin, the Nazis, and the West Their Darkest Hour The Charisma of Adolf Hitler Horror In The East: Japan And The Atrocities Of World War - II

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“Michel and Annette Muller’s mother, snatched from her children at Beaune-la-Rolande, died at Auschwitz. And while it was the Nazis who wished her dead, it was the French who put her in harm’s way.” 0 likes
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