Non-fiction – society, biography, and literary and cultural history

Nikolaus Wachsmann
KL. Die Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager

© Siedler Verlag, München, 2016 Nikolaus Wachsmann: KL. Die Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager © Siedler Verlag, Munich, 2016(...) There has previously been no single-source comprehensive history of the SS concentration camps. Nikolaus Wachsmann, who was born in Munich in 1971, trained in Great Britain and now teaches at the University of London, noticed this gap and set to work. The result is a book that covers this oppressive and difficult subject in an unprecedented diversity of perspectives. Even in the face of the victims’ boundless suffering and misery, the perpetrators’ abysses of fanaticism, brutality and egotism, and elusive shadowy zones in between, the author unfailingly maintains his attitude of analytical precision and human empathy. This historian knows how to maintain intellectual fascination over 700 pages of text.
The development of the camp system and its changing functions, the structure and mentality of the SS in the camps, the attitude of the environment to the concentration camps and Hitler’s and Himmler’s policy decisions are thoroughly followed through all their stages. The many witness accounts of people who were persecuted, which are often woven into the text as leitmotifs, play a key role in shaping this account.

Jürgen Zarusky: „Das System der Mordmaschine“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 6 June 2016

Nikolaus Wachsmann
KL. Die Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager
Siedler Verlag, Munich, 2016
ISBN 978-3-88680-827-4
992 pages


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