Auteur: Robert Jan van Pelt & Deborah DWork
Sara GrossmanWeil was deported from Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz in August 1944. As she entered the camp, she "saw columns of women, half naked, shaven heads, stretching out their arms. 'Food. food. Give me your bread!' Screaming, shouting. I was overwhelmed. I thought that I found myself in an asylum. in a madhouse. in a place with only crazy people" This was the place she had heard about. in whispers and with dread. "They always called it Auschwitz, but we didn't know what it meant".
The crushing number of murders—over 1,200,000 or them—the overwhelming scale of the crime, and the vast, abandoned site of ruined chimneys and rusting barbed wire isolate Auschwitz from us. We think of it as a concentration camp closed in on itself, separated from the rest of the world by night and fog. In the 1940s. however, this epicenter of the Holocaust was located at the edge of a town that had become the focus of a Germanization program that included ruthless ethnic cleansing, massive industrial investment, and comprehensive urban construction. Auschwitz. 1270 to the Present elucidates how the prewar ordinary town of Auschwitz became Germany's most lethal killing site step by step and in stages: a transformation wrought by human beings. mostly German and mostly male. Who were the men who conceived, created, and constructed the killing facility? What were they thinking as they inched their way to iniquity? Using the hundreds of architectural plans for the camp that the Germans. in their haste, forgot to destroy. as well as blueprints and papers in municipal, provincial, and federal archives. Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt show that the town of Auschwitz and the camp of that name were the centerpiece of Himmler's ambitious project to recover the German legacy of the Teutonic Knights and Frederick the Great in Naziruled Poland. Analyzing the close ties between the 700year history of the town and the fiveyear evolution of the concentration camp in its suburbs, van Pelt and Dwork offer an absolutely new and compelling interpretation of the origins and development of the death camp at Auschwitz. And drawing on oral histories of survivors, memoirs, depositions, and diaries, the authors explore the ever more murderous impact of these changes on the inmates daily lives.
A work of impeccable scholarship and sensitive narration, Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present is the definitive history of the site that has come to epitomize evil.