“...a powerful and comprehensive study…indispensable to anyone with a serious interest in Holocaust studies.”
— Christopher R. Browning
Auschwitz, the largest and most lethal of the Nazi death camps, was actually three camps in one—a killing center, a concentration camp, and a series of slave labor camps. More than a million people were murdered at Auschwitz of whom ninety percent were Jews.
In one of the inaugural publications of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s research arm, leading scholars from the United States, Israel, Poland, and other European countries provide the first comprehensive account of what took place at Auschwitz. Principal sections of the book address the institutional history of the camp, the technology and dimensions of the genocide carried out there, the profiles of the perpetrators and the lives of the inmates, underground resistance and escapes, and what the outside world knew about Auschwitz and when.
A major study of the design and construction of the gas chambers and crematoria reveals the economic competitiveness, bureaucratic struggles, and technological sophistication behind the manufacture of the machinery that was used to murder and incinerate thousands daily.
Many chapters—including those by Polish scholars, who can now write freely about the Jewish fate in Auschwitz—bring to light new information found in archival holdings in the former communist countries. All essays were prepared exclusively for this book. The authoritative portrait of the camp that emerges from this research is indispensable for anyone seeking to comprehend the meaning of Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
Contributors are Yehuda Bauer, Michael Berenbaum, Randolph Braham, Nathan Cohen, Danuta Czech, Leo Eitinger, Martin Gilbert, Israel Gutman, Raul Hilberg, Miroslav Karny, Nili Keren, Shmuel Krakowski, Helena Kubica, Hermann Langbein, Lawrence Langer, Aleksander Lasik, Robert Jay Lifton and Amy Hackett, Robert-Jan van Pelt, Franciszek Piper, Jean-Claude Pressac, Irena Strzelecka, Andrzej Strzelecki, Henryk Swiebocki, and David S. Wyman. From the book cover.
“This learned volume is about as chilling as historiography gets.”
— Walter Laqueur, The New Republic
“...a comprehensive portrait of the largest and most lethal of the Nazi death camps…serves as a vital contribution to Holocaust studies and a bulwark against forgetting.”
— Publishers Weekly
“An immensely wide and deep collection…on the infrastructure, operation, population, and history of the Auschwitz death-camp complex….without peer in Holocaust literature.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Rigorously documented, brilliantly written, organized, and edited…the most authoritative book about a place of unsurpassed importance in human history.”
— John K. Roth
“Without the slightest exaggeration…one of the most important and informative books ever written about the Holocaust. Never before has knowledge concerning every aspect of Auschwitz, one of the most demonic institutions of recorded history, been made available in such authority, depth, and comprehensiveness.”
— Richard L. Rubinstein
Israel Gutman is Professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University and former Director of the Research Center, Yad Vashem.
Michael Berenbaum is an independent consultant working on the historical content of films and the conceptual development of museums. He is the former president and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and served as director of the Research Institute of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Berenbaum is also adjunct professor of theology at the University of Judaism.