For some strange reason I have always been interested in the Holocaust. This book is a very sad and descriptive account of what happened. Very good read for those who are interested.
I sometimes find it terribly hard to rate Holocaust related books. The odd thing is that sometimes it's not very hard and there doesn't seem to be any obvious rhyme or reason to this. I'm having a hard time with this one.
The book is very informative - I've read a decent number of Holocaust books, many memoirs by Aushwitz survivors and I've even read a few by survivors who were in some way in a "special" role there. Nyiszli was, basically, the man who did the autopsies, some experiments, some mummification, and much else besides.
He "worked" in direct contact with Mengele (I can't bring myself to put the 'Dr.' in front of that monsters name.) He was in the Sonderkommando - men who had about four months, from the time of arrival at Auschwitz, before they were killed. He was almost killed numerous times. And the time he spent in that "special" role was quite different than what the masses were dealing with as basic prisoners.
On the flip side - before liberation Nyiszli did in fact spend some time as a "common prisoner" so he was one of the few to see both sides of prisoner life in the camp.
The forword, by Bruno Bettelheim, is very important I think and not at all boring unlike many forewords that I've slogged through. He tells the reader something that seems to be very true - this wasn't written for any other person than to tell the facts. It's not the best written book, Nyiszli doesn't have the most eloquent voice, but it does what it set out to do - it tells the facts according to Miklos Nyiszli.
I'd definitely recommend but this is another where you'll have to beware. You'll read things that will stay with you. I'm of the opinion that this is a very important thing myself. Not something to be forgotten.
I was a little unsettled by Bettelheim's words about Anne Frank and her family. While I suppose he didn't say anything actually untrue it was still unsettling. I'm not sure why he felt the need to speak in the way he did but for what it's worth he did.