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Auschwitz: The Nazis & the 'Final Solution'
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Auschwitz: The Nazis & the 'Final Solution'

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  7,492 ratings  ·  213 reviews
In this compelling book, highly acclaimed author and broadcaster Laurence Rees tells the definitive history of the most notorious Nazi institution of them all. We discover how Auschwitz evolved from a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners into the site of the largest mass murder in history - part death camp, part concentration camp, where around a million Jews...more
Paperback, 399 pages
Published 2005 by BBC Publishing
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Paul

THE FLOWERS IN THE WINDOWBOX


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...more
Shaun
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...more
Sonja
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...
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...more
Wordsmith
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
Jenn
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
Hannah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
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...more
Kelly
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.
Lee
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
Doug
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
Chris
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...more
Ron
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.
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...more
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...more
Rennie
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
Jennifer
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...more
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
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
Paul
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.
Joanne
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...more
Gene
Excellent, deep, extremely thought-provoking.
Catarina
Sep 21, 2014 Catarina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patrícia, Joana
É um retrato impressionante e doloroso da Solução Final, que nos atormenta. Mas é um livro que é necessário ler. Mesmo tendo conhecimentos sobre Auschwitz e sobre o extermínio nazi dos judeus, não fazia ideia da dimensão real e da evolução chocante do que foi essa abominável e cruel máquina de morte, notavelmente explicada neste livro, com sobriedade mas também com crueza, e graças também aos testemunhos de vítimas e de criminosos nazis.

"Em breve, o último sobrevivente e o último criminoso de Au...more
Kelsey
Haunting. Horrible. Terrifying. Fascinating. That's what this book delivers.

This is one of my favorite accounts of the Holocaust, and what I especially liked from Rees' book was that he not only focused on the Jews, but Jews from Poland, from Hungary, Italy, Denmark, France, Belgium, etc, as well as on gays, POWS, gypsies, Jehova's Witnesses, etc. He also wrote of the Holocaust through previous Nazi's eyes.

It's a personal account from all different types of people associated with the Holocaust,...more
Sumit
I waited loooong time to read this book, probably because I wanted to understand the WAR before I pick something as deeply touching and emotionally disturbing as this book.

As title suggests, author did a lot of research on recently unclassified documents from government sources and interviewed many first hand witnesses who were previously reluctant to speak about the topic. That gave the book an authority which is extremely hard to achieve on historically sensitive topics such as this one and f...more
Travis
The subject of the Holocaust is never a pleasant one. That said, this book does a good job of focusing on the many atrocities that took place as part of the Nazis "Final Solution," from eyewitness accounts of some who survived it. The book focuses on the history of Auschwitz--it's early beginnings and what it eventually developed into, the corruption and greed that took over, and the key players (Hess, Eichmann, Himmler, and Mengele) who molded it into becoming a death camp, site of the largest...more
Carl Nelson
The Nazi atrocities of the Holocaust may well be the most evil act of human history. "Auschwitz: A New History" draws from a wealth of interviews and other materials, including some that have only been available since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prisoners and SS members who were at Auschwitz are interviewed in detail, and the historical record is impeccably researched. The emotional impact of this book is tremendous. The development of the "Final Solution" unfolds horrifically from the ini...more
Paul Lunger
Auschwitz is perhaps the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps from World War II & is by far one of the most important. In Laurence Rees's "Auschwitz" he examines the history of the concentration camps & goes into detail as to what they were originally intended including the early history of Auschwitz & the other camps with what they were intended to be. The book itself is very well written & full of bits of information relating to to the Holocaust that covers the majorit...more
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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 2

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