197 pp., 6.125 x 9.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4160-0
Published: August 1986
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-9882-6
Published: October 2009
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Awards & distinctions
1986 Best Books for Young Adults, American Library Association, Young Adults Services Division
1986 Merit of Educational Distinction, International Center for Holocaust Studies, Anti-Defamation League
Commemorative in spirit and artistic in form, Auschwitz convincingly portrays the paradoxes of human nature in extreme circumstances. With consummate understatement Nomberg-Przytyk describes the behavior of concentration camp inmates as she relentlessly and pitilessly examines her own motives and feelings. In this world unmitigated cruelty coexisted with nobility, rapacity with self-sacrifice, indifference with selfless compassion. This book offers a chilling view of the human drama that existed in Auschwitz.
From her portraits of camp personalities, an extraordinary and horrifying profile emerges of Dr. Josef Mengele, whose medical experiments resulted in the slaughter of nearly half a million Jews. Nomberg-Przytyk's job as an attendant in Mengle's hospital allowed her to observe this Angel of Death firsthand and to provide us with the most complete description to date of his monstrous activities.
The original Polish manuscript was discovered by Eli Pfefferkorn in 1980 in the Yad Vashem Archive in Jerusalem. Not knowing the fate of the journal's author, Pfefferkorn spent two years searching and finally located Nomberg-Przytyk in Canada. Subsequent interviews revealed the history of the manuscript, the author's background, and brought the journal into perspective.
About the Author
Sara Nomberg-Przytyk died in Canada in 1990. Roslyn Hirsch and David Hirsch have also translated and edited Ghetto Kingdom: Tales of the Lodz Ghetto and, with Eli Pfefferkorn, Justyna's Narrative, by Gusta Davidson Draenger.
For more information about Sara Nomberg-Przytyk, visit the Author Page.
“[The] unusual attention to the details of human character that emerged under the cruel and extreme conditions of the death camp sets [this book] apart from the many important and moving books written by other survivors.” --New York Times Book Review
"There is much to learn here, about Auschwitz and the range of human behavior."--Ruth R. Wisse, McGill University
"The astonishing power of this series of portraits, vignettes, and tales . . . resides in the fact that in the midst of unimaginable treachery, deceit, and cunningly contrived evil, there still existed among the prisoners life-giving remnants of decency, courage, fortitude, and hope."--Robert McAfee Brown, author of Elie Wiesel: Messenger to All Humanity