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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,340 ratings  ·  231 reviews
The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz. Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius’s reign of terror at the camp, his escape fro ...more
Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published January 18th 2017 by Crux Publishing (first published April 25th 2000)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Gerald Posner
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have an advantage. I have an advance copy since the author is my wife. So I might be biased, but I'd like to think that I also have the distance to critically judge this book in a straightforward and objective way. As an author of 12 books, two of them about Nazis and World War II, I know good storytelling and a compelling tale when I see it. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz has both. It is a riveting and mostly unknown story from the war, built around a Victor Capesius, an odious SS officer at Aus ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Victor Capesius was an ordinary man. He didn't stand out in any way. He would have continues his life as an ordinary man, with an ordinary job, an ordinary family. The war changed that.
This story shows how the war changed ordinary people into believing they were above others. It seems to have happened slowly, with opportunity and situation. Not only Victor but many others lost their perspective and became something less than fully human. They lost a consciousness that is difficult to image losi
Suzi Reid
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I find it quite hard to rate non-fiction on the usual star scale as that is based on enjoyment, and this story is certainly not enjoyable in that sense. I found this book compelling and well written despite the appalling subject matter, it certainly uncovered more information on the other people involved in the atrocities at the death camps than just those responsible for the shootings and gas chambers. These "doctors" were just as responsible. I think I sat shaking my head the entire time in ut ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star
I absolutely devoured this book; I couldn’t put it down. So much has been authored about the Holocaust and various Nazi war criminals, some more infamous than others. This is an exceptionally well researched book about one of the lesser known Nazis, a popular pharmacist turned murderer at Auschwitz.

The book offers a biography of Victor Capesius and an account of how he was brought to trial many years after the war. Although there is a lot of technical aspects, the author documents her findings
Oct 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tedious is an understatement.
I am not saying others will not enjoy, a friend of mine gave it 4 stars, I simply did not.
It is a very factual essay about the topic. As someone who has read extensively on this topic, it was very hard to get through the first half of the book, which was just a repetition of common knowledge and facts about that time. The second half was about the trials afterwards, this part was more interesting to see how the trials were hard to prove. The witness acounts and the r
Jamie (The Kansan Reader)
3.5 stars

For more reviews: https://jaynikkibelthoughts.wordpress...

Real power, however, was the ability to sometimes play God, to spare a life, even if it was only a temporary and brutal respite from the gas chamber.

For those who have seen one of my reviews on a WWII or Holocaust book, you know I grew up learning about this time period more than any other. My grandpa, my dad, and my brother are history buffs. Their specialty you wonder… WWII and the Holocaust. I have known about one of the w
Ginger Miller
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
In depth information but nothing new.

Almost nothing that appears in this book has not been reported before. No BIG new information. In a better order but any Holocaust scholar could have said all of this in a classroom and surly they have. As usual the "former German Nazis" show their true colors."We didn't know". It just rings so very hollow. Excellent research by the author and well put together. Worth reading because books on the Holocaust from victims and criminals should be read. Now everyo
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
What a brilliantly researched book. This tells the terrible story of a man who starts out as a simple pharmacist. Truth is stranger than fiction. I can't believe so many of the people mentioned in this book got away with very light sentences for what they did. Its hard to believe but is all true. Well written book.
Grim, disgusting, but true. How did we ever let this happen to so many?
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thorough historical account of a little known SS doctor/pharmacist who was responsible for numerous deaths through selections at the train stations for incoming Jews as well as transporting the poison to the gas Chambers. A few chapters got a little dry with names and legal proceedings, but overall it was a well written, interesting read.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story of Victor Capesius is by Patricia Posner. When I chose this book, I thought it was another memoir of a Holocaust survivor. However, I soon realized I was absolutely wrong. It is about a perpetrator not a survivor. Victor Capesius was the man who was in charge of ordering and dispersing Zyklon B in Auschwitz as well as dispersing the drugs used by other doctors in their experiments here at the camp. He took his turn at the selections, deciding who liv ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read

This book was very informative and well written.
A realistic summation of the culpability of many Nazi allowed to live out their lives in relative peace and prosperity after personal genocidal participation.
It also includes the collusion of the German people who never came to terms and accepted responsibility for their murderous acts and genocidal ideology. They're still anti Semites in spirit and so are the Austrians.

This is not only the history of Victor Capesius, but of Auschwitz itself. I was not aware of the involvement and culpability of the Fabren company and its subsidiary Bayer in the running of Auschwitz. Very informative and important history of this part of the holocaust.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A depressing read

This is as morbid and sad as you could imagine a book about Auschwitz to be, or likely more so if your imagination is not quite good enough to envision the maximum of horrors that a dedicated group of people can inflict upon others when so motivated. Although most of the book follows the life of the title character--the German Romanian Victor Capesius who lived free in West Germany for many years after the war apart from being on trial in Frankfurt for 2 years and jailed for abo
Denise Knox
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
There has been a great deal written about Auschwitz, both about the people who where sent there and also those who worked behind its barbwire fences. Certain names will always stand out even if you are skimming the text. Capesius is at least for me one that I had not heard before and for the most part, why would you? The pharmacist would seem to be very low down on the list of people who would be searched out for. Surely some jobs were as simple as they sound? But what Posner reveals is that no ...more
Maria Pahlman
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020
I saw this in a book fair and it peaked my interest. A great read for those of us who want the perspective of actual survivors and yes, also perpetrators, monsters of the events past.
My mother is a pharmacist so I was inclined to pick this particular memoir up because of her. Maybe she'll read it too.
The most interesting part for me was what was happening in the courtrooms and the aftermath of that.
Charles m smith jr
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The true story of those evil men at the death camps.

It was hard to read of such evil. However, this can't even be forgotten. The problem now is history is no longer taught in the classroom f today's school. This book should be read in all the school's of today. Thank you Patricia Posner.
Rob Lund
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Incredible account of Nazi hunting after WWII, and the background of one pharmacist who facilitated the delivery of Zyklon B.

Near the end is a mention to the similar case of John Demjanjuk (see Netflix's excellent "The Devil Next Door").
Finn Theunis
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
great writing style and overal super well structured. Tells the tale the way it should be told. Can only recommend
Barry Brown
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This true story is fascinating. Even when caught and confronted with the evidence this man goes to his grave in denial. He was not alone for sure as so many German Nazis did the same. I read these books so I will never forget and am prepared to discuss with my friends when possible.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-read, nook
Very interesting read about the Holocaust. Even though the story focused on one man, it also highlighted how hard it was to prosecute those involved with the Final Solution and how little punishment was given to many of these people.
Robyn Hammontree
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really interesting look at who we should consider culpable when atrocities are perpetrated, and the ways we failed (and continue to fail) the victims.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
After having read a wide variety of books on WWII and the Nazi death camps, I found this not terribly interesting. It was well-written and researched, but most of it was details of an uninteresting and unremarkable man who contributed to the horror of Auschwitz.

Very few of the Nazis got either long sentences or the death penalty. Of those, most were freed after serving less than half of their sentences. I found the results disgusting.
Susan Turchick
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. A relatively short time, compared to many with details of the atrocities of the Holocaust. It made me sick, but yet I recommend everyone read it, especially those who think that USA 2017 knows better.

Well written, I really had a hard time putting it down to do real life.
Richard Kolivoski
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
If all the conflicted things to be. A doctor. A man of medicine. A husband. A father. A merciless murderer. A Nazi leader without remorse.

I am still reeling from the absolute arrogance of this unrepentant man, whose greed, and depravity knows no bounds.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am the type of person who gets to the end of a book and asks "So what happened next?" I don't tend to accept the fairy tale happy ending; I wonder about what happens when the heroine realises that the hero never picks up his socks, spends too much time with 'the boys' and stops being a romantic idol. That's probably partly why I found The Pharmacist of Auschwitz a very satisfying read. History's most notorious and evil death camp is over and done with less than half way through this amazing bo ...more
Adam Thomas
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A chilling account of a pharmacist who thought he could participate in the evil of Auschwitz and get away with it. And he wasn't alone. He was just one part of a chillingly corrupt pharmaceutical industry that was happy to participate in mass murder.

"A few weeks later, a Bayer executive sent the SS a memo that was strikingly similar to most others that marked the end of one of its concentration camp pharmaceutical trials. 'The experiments were performed. All test persons died. We will contact yo
Makenna Thorpe
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An Unknown Story
The book is centered around the life of Victor Capesius. Victor was a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who had joined the Nazis in 1943. Soon after joining, he quickly was appointed the position of being the head pharmacist at the largest death camp: Auschwitz. The book takes the reader through the journey and many personal accounts during this era. The book examines the perspectives of Nazi followers, agents conducting research across the Nazis, Nazi hunters, and camp
Kylie Loughney
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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I am London born, having spent half my life in Britain and half in the United States.
For thirty years I have worked on 12 books of investigative historical nonfiction with my husband, bestselling author Gerald Posner. On those projects, I conduct every interview with him, sift through thousands of pages of original documents in government and private archives, and work on the early drafts of manu

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