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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)

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What listeners say about The Pharmacist of Auschwitz

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz.

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

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Important History

This is a vital historical narrative that records one aspect of Nazi German atrocities carried out at the Auschwitz during WWII. Victor Capesius managed to evade capture as Nszi Germany collapse, and then he managed to evade the detection of his crimes long enough to escape any substantive Justice as West Germany changed its laws in accordance with an anti-Soviet US foreign policy. Ironically, although US anti-intellectualism dominated Europe after 1945 - Victor Capesius was tried in his native Romania (in absentia) in 1945 and Sentenced to Death for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. This verdict was ignored at the time in Western Europe. The author peddles an anti-Soviet narrative throughout and makes the incorrect statement that Joseph Stalin suggested the Nazi Leadership be immediately shot whilst a shocked Western Judiciary supposedly insisted on a proper trial. In fact, it was Winston Churchill (the admirer of Hitler) who suggested that Leading Nazis be shot without trial to save time - whilst it was Joseph Stalin who pointed out that international law decreed that a trial was needed for each suspect. As matters transpired, Victor Capesius died in his old age in 1985. The author omits that In 1975, the UN - after an investigation - ruled that Zionism is also a form of White Supremacy used to oppress and persecute the non-White occupants of Palestine. This is why this story should remind us that fascism can arise anywhere and that the decent people of the world should remain forever vigulent in their protection of freedom!

2 people found this 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

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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.

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informational and interesting

Some very disturbing information, but this story should be told as it is for people to get the best understanding to the evil these people did!
the performance of the book is good with a likeable voice in my opinion!
good purchase

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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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A must read

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

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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz. Review: Tevin Gongo

This book reminds me about a sad episode in the history of humanity: the Second World War. Maybe, even more important, it reminds me individuals (me included) can become authors of the most atrocious crimes. The lessons are multiple: obviously, there is a need for not forgetting the past. There is also the importance of knowing and living my values so I don't become a Capesius if I ever find myself in similar circumstances.

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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

5 people found this helpful

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  • Momof3inSLC
  • 03-08-20

Really good

Written well enough to give you the graphic facts without making you too uncomfortable. It is upsetting and it should be.

3 people found this helpful

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  • amanda ott
  • 03-02-21

“Auschwitz made Dante Inferno look like a comedy.”

A doctor that served at Auschwitz said, “Auschwitz made Dante Inferno look like a comedy.” This book is fascinating as it looks at a person who transforms & sends thousands of people to their death - including neighbors and friends. I also found it very interesting the look at the legal ramifications for those involved with the Nazis and death camps after the war - who is accountable & who isn’t? This man was responsible for sending at least 8000 people to chambers when they got off the train & for bringing the gas to different chambers, yet he only served 2.5 years of his 9 year sentence. It is astonishing and he stuck by his story of innocence & following orders till the end.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LisalouRN
  • 26-08-17

I respect every victim of the Holocaust to....

Narrator I believe was SPOT on. This is about my 20th book on the topic. I am a critical care nurse of 27 years, It takes a lot to offend my sensibilities. this book 1/3 through did it. There were certain things involving children I just did NOT need to hear. And while it is important to keep most of these stories alive through generations, certain horrid details need to be never spoken of. The mad man at the helm of this hell would be sickening proud to know some of the stories are still being told. a shame really. gave it 3 attempts.

It would behoove this author to consider such sensitive things involving ......cant even saying it. just leave babies and kids out of it

13 people found this helpful

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  • Ashley V. Grant
  • 15-10-20

Excruciatingly painful truths...

The book was clearly well researched and fact checked and very intriguing to listen to and try to process the unthinkable acts of evil performed by the doctor and the Nazi's in general. Heartbreaking but a great book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-08-20

Excellent

The reader was outstanding. The best I’ve ever heard. The writing was masterful. Great storytelling of such an awful subject.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alwyn B
  • 22-08-20

Excellent book on yet another Holocaust story.

Capesius is not as well known as some of the other Auschwitz criminals. The audiobook enlightened me.
Julian Elfer is an excellent narrator.

1 person found this helpful