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Editor reviews

Narrator Noah Michael Levine's expressive performance shades in different layers of emotion as he narrates the true story of Jewish prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, who was spared death and chosen by Dr. Josef Mengele himself to assist in the Nazi doctor's terrible experiments. Levine sensitively evokes both the horror and desire for survival that permeates Dr. Nyiszli's stories of serving as Mengele's personal research pathologist and as the physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked in the crematoriums and were routinely executed every four months. Listeners will find themselves moved by Dr. Nyiszli's moral agony over his role as Mengele's assistant and his ambition to stay alive in order to reveal the truth about Auschwitz.

Summary

Auschwitz was one of the first books to bring the full horror of the Nazi death camps to the American public; this is, as the New York Review of Books said, "the best brief account of the Auschwitz experience available."

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous "Angel of Death" - Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. In that capacity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.

©1960, 2011 Miklos Nyiszli (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Auschwitz

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disappointing

Delivered in a detached robotic American tone it was difficult to connect with the characters events

16 people found this helpful

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review

What made the experience of listening to Auschwitz the most enjoyable?

This was an incredibly difficult book to listen to, but compelling at the same time. I have only ever studied WWII history at school, but I guess I wanted to understand more about the Nazi plan for superiority and the lessons we can all learn to avoid anything like this happening again

What did you like best about this story?

This was written from a first hand experience. I felt as though the witness was somewhat detached from the atrocities. It is hard to judge someone else when they have been through such an experience. I guess we all have an idea of what we do, how we would cope, but the reality is no one knows until they have been there.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were various instances in the book when an individual was described. I found it particularly hard to imagine what despair and trauma these people would have experienced in their final hours.

Any additional comments?

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly humans can justify cruelty, because I am sure the German officers were not born bad, but were made bad by twisted logic. It also serves as a lesson to all of us to never forget and learn from past atrocities. How this could ever be denied beggars belief.

9 people found this helpful

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Shocking account of mans brutality to man.

Heart rendering account on one man’s journey through hell. Very descriptive, account. Only criticism is the narrator. Would have been better to have a Polish or some other Eastern European to narrate as the American accent didn’t really go. All in all though a very tragic tale beautifully written.

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terrible reading was very robotic

story was ok but the reading of it sounded like a robot, that made it a hard listen.

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Never Forget

Only history through words now, but I actually felt hurt and bruised from the reality of this well told book.

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Brutal beyond one's comprehension.

Having read so much history regarding the Second World War, I was always drawn to the Final Solution. I visited Auschwitz a few years ago. Walked along the platform, entered the sheds, looked at the gas chamber, walked through and into the crematorium. I could never understand the brutality and cruelty, never. The sordid minds that came up with such an horrific idea as the Final Solution. The medical torture, yes, torture was carried out by barbaric people, sick people.... and we must never forget this. This book stands alone in its horror but its one you must see through to the end to really understand.

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Incredible story of ultimate survival.

I have studied this part of WW2 and found this to be very different account fo all the others I have read. You feel on one hand, an enormous sense of disbelief, as if it were fiction, but the account shows not only a story of a man who showed great courage, but also a man whose preservation was a single focus, negating the sense of guilt and trauma he endured. Truly epic.

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Harrowing account

It was difficult to listen to all the horrors and crimes committed upon these innocent people. I applaud the bravery to document such things included here. It is a book that everyone should listen to and learn from.

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Best book on Auschwitz

I really enjoyed this Audib

le book it moved me more than any other book

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Harrowing but brilliantly written and narrated

There's no denying that this books story is harrowing, but it's also captivating. It is so well written and narrated that I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book, and it has left a lasting impression.
I have just finished listening to it and intend to listen to it again straight away.
I cant recommend this book highly enough.

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  • PJC
  • 01-10-14

A mixed bag

Any additional comments?

This was not a bad book. It read more like a journal than a story. It is simply about one man's experience in a Nazi camp. He witnessed some terrible things while in Auchwitz, and this is a detailed account. This book is not for the squeamish. The doctor is a forensic pathologist who was forced to do autopsies on people who were put to death in Auchwitz. He himself took no part in the killings. Some reviews have referred to him as a war criminal, but honestly, the man had a choice of dying in the gas chambers or working under Mengele doing autopsies on prisoners that were already DOA. The author choose the latter path, and was in constant fear for his life the whole time he was under captivity. Through a series of bribes, he was able to move about the camps more freely than others, but I do not see this as a point of pride for him, especially when you realize what his purpose for moving about the camp was. The book shows what a monster Mengele was and explains his demented ideas that led to the autopsies. This book is a grim reminder of the evil that exists in the world. We owe it to the fallen to hear these stories and remember them. One point of note: I was appalled at the prologue, which, if I understood it correctly, suggested that the plight of the Jews was, in part, brought upon them by their own doing. It was suggested that they were to blame in part for the atrocities that occurred due to their compliance and passivity. This was a different era, and a different people. Naive as they may or may not have been, you do what you are told when a gun is pointed at you. I was very displeased with the opening, and I think it did the book as a whole an grave injustice. As a matter of fact, it was insulting. Narration was average.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis
  • 07-05-14

Just wow.

I have searched for books that tell about how things were inside the camps, and I have searched for books about the experiments, and the gas chambers.

While most books skirt around those topics - this one hits the full horror head on. First rate account

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jfm
  • 09-09-15

Great book. Very dark.

Would you listen to Auschwitz again? Why?

I will likely listen to this again. I think the seriousness in the voice of the narrator really underscores the gravity of what's happening throughout. A few have complained about the monotone voice but I think it was necessary for it to sound serious and not playful or overly dramatic. This stuff actually happened after all.

What other book might you compare Auschwitz to and why?

Hmm. I'm not sure what to compare this too. It's probably the most detailed book about Auschwitz that I've ever read.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't want to say. Because it's a very dark, depressing part of the book and I don't want to ruin it for potential readers.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was upsetting. I mean you hear about things that happened during this time in history, but to hear a first hand account of what was going on in this camp is so depressing.

Any additional comments?

Read this book. Everyone on the planet should read this. It's so hard to believe that evil like this existed less than 100 years ago. Very detailed and very well written and read.

5 people found this helpful

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  • donjoe
  • 06-06-19

a must read......

I see why this book is so important it grabs you like fish hooks and doesn't let go books almost 7 hours long feels like 40 minutes, and yet being placed in Auschwitz by this story feels like an eternity. the thing that grabbed me the most was a father and son with deformities was chosen their bodies to be boiled and their skeletons sent back to the Third Reich Museum as a deficiency example of their race and when the skeletons were removed from the iron tubs the prisoners thought it was meat being prepared for them and ate the Flesh not realizing it was flesh of the to humans until they were told later on I'll never forget that.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Emmanuel
  • 09-09-15

Ghastly riveting!

Most informative. Ghastly portrait of man's inhumanity to man. Must read. An asset to history.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 04-11-14

Most difficult book I've ever read...

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Noah Michael Levine?

He was far too manly and brash to read this book...

Do you think Auschwitz needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes. It ends too abruptly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Simone
  • 10-07-14

Bad Narration

It’s hard to criticize the content of someone’s personal recollections of what they experienced in harrowing times. It's interesting, I'm interested.

I think these things are important to learn about and remember. In some itsy bitsy way it’s giving meaning to their lives.

The narration of this audiobook however was so poor that sadly it’s about all I am taking away from it. Monotone, staccato, no emotion, unvarying in pitch, no intonation, mechanical… such a shame; it ruined the book for me.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-07-16

couldn't get through it

it's a great idea and part of history that MUST be told but listening to it was to difficult. it was harder than listening to a college professor teach quantum physics. I WANTED to finish it. I got to chapter 10 but despite the historical importance, it was written and narrated too boring.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zach
  • 15-05-22

Deeply Moving

The story is incredibly touching. The only critique I could offer is that the narrator seems somewhat detached from the material and does not add much emotion to the morose material he is narrating.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-22

A very powerful listen

I've always been a history buff and WWII has always had my attention. Being an American German Jew This strikes cords on both sides of the fence. I've personally spoken to actual survivors of the holocaust and then hearing stories like this really shake you to the core. Like Churchill said "if you don't learn from history, history repeat itself".

I cherish the time I was able to sit back and speak with Mr. Burger about The horrors his wife and him suffered through that time and to know how loving and caring they were after everything that happened to them really shines a light on humanity