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The Meeting: An Auschwitz Survivor Confronts…

The Meeting: An Auschwitz Survivor Confronts an Ss Physician (Religion,…

by Bernhard Frankfurter

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The book, with just two and a half pages left to be read sat on my kitchen table for months. I just couldn't finish it. I was so upset by the book I'd had enough.

I will have to think about what I want to say about it. But, for now, if you are interested in truth, history and don't mind the author challenging you, read it. The book is essentially an extended interview over three days between a woman, a camp inmate, and a Nazi camp doctor. He was the only doctor at the Nuremberg Trials that was acquitted. She was the daughter of a Christian, Nazi maternal family and a Jewish father and worked in the camp's medical offices as an inmate not an employee.

The book isn't hard to read, the writing flows, it is interesting, but is very harrowing. Unlike most Holocaust camp survivors memoirs and histories, there is no drama. It is all about the mundane everyday existence in a camp and how the inmates try to work around the terrible strictures for some semblance of a life that will keep them from death. The fact it is so low-key on a subject that is the depth of evil, nothing normal about it, is part of the ease and part of the challenge of reading this book. There is an endless howl within you, "how could they?" and at times, an anguished "how could he?" wrenches you. It isn't a book that will leave you untouched.

The camp survivors who were Aryan in appearance from a church-going parent but with Jewish blood are really under represented in the canon of Holocaust literature. This one is excellent and gives a different perspective to our understanding of the industrialised murder factories of the Nazis, and of Germany in those times.

When I was a kid in Israel attending a language school before going on to college (I had a scholarship to do a particular kind of stained glass offered by the Bezalel in Jerusalem and no where else in the world which was the only reason I was there) my landlady had a huge, not very neat tattoo of a number up her arm and a hairy patch where skin had been transplanted on her back. She used to search mine and my flatmate's drawers and read our letters, but neither my flat mate nor I knew what to do. We couldn't, after her terrible experiences, go and be so petty as to complain over her lack of respecting our privacy. We just didn't know where she was coming from, how she might have been damaged, how what she did might have a different meaning in her mental world. In the end, we left the apartment and got another, never having the courage or the right words to say anything less than cheery and positive to her.

Well, it seems I did review the book in the end.
Read it. It deserves to be read.

Finished 19 Dec 2010 but review rewritten 22 March 2013. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
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