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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz

The Untold Story
Narrated by: Julian Elfer
Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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Summary

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little-known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania, who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz. Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius' reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder 20 years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil's pact made between the Nazis and Germany's largest conglomerate, IG Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed, with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler's war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution, to postwar Germany's tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality.

Contains mature themes.

©2017 Patricia Posner (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

"A gruesome story eloquently told." ( Kirkus)

What members say

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  • m
  • 09-05-18

Shocking

Detailed account of the horrors of this infamous Nazi death factory. Chilling and factual. Adds a layer of detail to what is commonly known. Shines a spotlight on this depraved and opportunistic coward of a man who squirms and ultimately gets away with genocide.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating- and a lot of NEW INSIGHT!!!

All who read about the Third Reich - the uprise, the years of horror which followed - will have read about the concentration camps BUT this book is different to what you expect...

It is not simply a portraitier account about the pharmacist of Auschwitz - no, it gives a lot more - the role of the large pharmaceutical firm IG Farben and so many others ....

Would I recommend this book: YES

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Towser T

I found this book fascinating and well researched. Some of the pronunciations in both English and German distracted - especially that of “Mengele”. However, it adds to the narrative of the holocaust and can thus be recommended.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz.

A very good book, I listened too it in one night and found it well researched.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary L
  • Liverpool, UK
  • 26-02-19

a really good well researched book

I really enjoyed this insight in to the of a little known SS doctor/pharmacist who was responsible for numerous deaths through selections at the train stations for incoming Jews as well as transporting the poison to the gas Chambers.

i felt the some of the chapters were a little too political but it was needed to keep the context it is non fiction after all

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Fascinating story well narrated.

An insight into the life of a Nazi working in a concentration camp. You know all this happened but you still struggle to understand.

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The pharmacist of Auschwitz

I found this book very interesting giving me a good acount of the problems in war

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A must read

Harrowing but a must read .voice over was easy on the ears . Brought tears to my eyes.

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a books that tells so much more

Log of info that I didn’t know .fantastic book .a must read !!! Tell so much more based on the criminals of that era

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How terrible. How unforgivable.

A harrowing story well read. How terrible people can be, even when no compulsion to be so.
Well worth reading so that we remember. Never forget.

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  • Cassandra
  • 25-01-18

Gripping!

Fascinating listen. I have listened at least twice. This man is as much a monster as the trial jurors thought and more. Worth the Credit

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Merrin
  • 16-08-19

B-

Struggled to finish. Not what I was expecting having just read 'The Tattooist of Auswitz' which was excellent...

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  • Polar Bear
  • 31-07-19

Not Focused on One Perpetrator as Title Implies

Adds to one's knowledge of what postwar Germany was willing to do about Holocaust perpetrators.

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  • Simone
  • 11-05-19

Fascinating

Over and above the compelling yet terrible story about the pharmacist, I was captivated by the particulars of how things were run the camps, the details of the subsequent the trials and the behaviour of the defendants etc

The book was gripping, well written, never got dry for me and was easy to read despite the difficult subject matter.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-02-19

poor pronunciation

The story is good the pronunciation of Eastern European towns and names it's appalling and so far off. maybe consider this next time.

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  • Charmaine
  • 21-12-18

The Auschwitz wrist tattoo

Non-fiction of the man that gave the tattoo on the wrists of Auschwitz arrivals ✋
Angled from a different perspective this book is focused on a tiny task within the massive Nazi wheel. By this function he exerted minute power to save a few.
There are background activities to put the detail of the story in understanding context without knowing anything about WWII.
Other than most Auschwitz bios that focus on suffering, destruction and devastation, this book drills into the experiences of how a history tragedy affected the soul of an intelligent logic man.
Best of all 😊😊 I read this book thru the night and earned a new badge!

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  • eva Durand
  • 04-11-18

A must read

The author reminds us that many ordinary people were involved in carrying out the Final Solution. Additionally the author ties together the role of IG Farben, a German chemical and pharmaceutical conglomerate, and their direct involvement. From a listener's perspective, the narrator, Julian Elfer, is easily to listen to.

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  • Tom G
  • 10-06-18

Jaw dropping story

As a polish immigrant in the US who became a pharmacist I could not pass up this title. This book paints a picture that I do not recall being as vivid when I learned about the holocaust in school in Poland. The first part of the book will make you angry, sad, surprised and numb. The horrific acts described make any horror movie seem tame. The second part of the book deals with the aftermath of the war and the nazi war trials. It is less interesting but still very important. This title describes not only the pharmacist profession at Auschwitz but also other medical professions and the unimaginable atrocities that the people running the camp were capable of. It is definitely worth a read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin
  • 23-03-18

Painful but eye opening

You will learn things that you probably never knew. Bayer (the aspirin company) was a major contributor of the chemicals that killed innocent people, including children and women. The atrocities perpetrated by this man and others is not sugar coated. Is the book worth reading? Absolutely!

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  • Jo L.
  • 08-03-18

A must read!

For personal reasons, I have been studying the Holocaust for 20 years and have read countless numbers of books and watched many documentaries. This book was a huge eye-opener, with up to date material that has only been released in the past 10 years.