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Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli, Tibere Kremer, Richard Seaver, Bruno

By Miklos Nyiszli, Tibere Kremer, Richard Seaver, Bruno Bettelheim

“The top short account of the Auschwitz adventure available.”—The manhattan evaluation of BooksWhen the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they despatched nearly the complete Jewish inhabitants to Auschwitz. A Jew and a doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli used to be spared from dying for a grimmer destiny: to accomplish “scientific examine” on his fellow inmates lower than the supervision of the notorious “Angel of Death”: Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli used to be named Mengele’s own examine pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to offer this terrifying and sobering account.

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Little Anne, too, wanted only to go on with life as usual, and nobody can blame her. But hers was certainly not a necessary fate, much less a heroic one; it was a senseless fate. The Franks could have faced the facts and survived, as did many Jews living in Holland. Anne could have had a good chance to survive, as did many Jewish children in Holland. But for that she would have had to be separated from her parents and gone to live with a Dutch family as their own child. Everybody who recognized the obvious knew that the hardest way to go underground was to do it as a family; that to hide as a family made detection by the SS most likely.

Why did so few of the millions of prisoners die like men, as did the men of only one of these commandos? Perhaps comparing the two physicians who survived Auschwitz may suggest an answer. Dr. Frankl, who during imprisonment searched continuously for the personal meaning of his experience as a concentration camp prisoner, thereby found the deeper meaning of his life and life in general. Other prisoners who, like Doctor Nyiszli, were concerned with mere survival—even if it meant helping SS doctors in their nefarious experiments with human beings—gained no deeper meaning from their horrible experience.

For the prisoners of that hospital were the living-dead. One had to be seriously ill before being admitted to the KZ hospital. For the most part they were living skeletons: dehydrated, emaciated, their lips were cracked, their faces swollen, and they had incurable dysentery. Their bodies were covered with enormous and repulsive running sores and suppurating ulcers. Such were the KZ’s sick. Such were those one had to care for and comfort. IV I STILL HAD NO CLEARLY DEFINED JOB. During a visit around the camp in the company of a French doctor, I noticed a sort of annex jutting out from one side of a KZ barracks.

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