"A book that will fundamentally enrich our knowledge of human nature, the organization of power, and the execution of terror."--Der SpiegelDuring the twelve years from 1933 until 1945, the concentration camp operated as a terror society. In this pioneering book, the renowned German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky looks at the concentration camp from ...
"A book that will fundamentally enrich our knowledge of human nature, the organization of power, and the execution of terror."--Der SpiegelDuring the twelve years from 1933 until 1945, the concentration camp operated as a terror society. In this pioneering book, the renowned German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky looks at the concentration camp from the inside as a laboratory of cruelty and a system of absolute power built on extreme violence, starvation, "terror labor, " and the business- like extermination of human beings.Based on historical documents and the reports of survivors, the book details how the resistance of prisoners was broken down. Arbitrary terror and routine violence destroyed personal identity and social solidarity, disrupted the very ideas of time and space, perverted human work into torture, and unleashed innumerable atrocities. As a result, daily life was reduced to a permanent struggle for survival, even as the meaning of self-preservation was extinguished. Sofsky takes us from the searing, unforgettable image of the Muselmann--Auschwitz jargon for the "walking dead"--to chronicles of epidemics, terror punishments, selections, and torture.The society of the camp was dominated by the S.S. and a system of graduated and forced collaboration which turned selected victims into accomplices of terror. Sofsky shows that the S.S. was not a rigid bureaucracy, but a system with ample room for autonomy. The S.S. demanded individual initiative of its members. Consequently, although they were not required to torment or murder prisoners, officers and guards often exploited their freedom to do so--in passing or on a whim, with cause, or without.The order of terror described by Sofskyculminates in the organized murder of millions of European Jews and Gypsies in the death-factories of Auschwitz and Treblinka. By the end of this book, Sofsky shows that the German concentration camp system cannot be seen as a temporary lapse into barbarism. Instead, it must be conceived as a product of modern civilization, where institutionalized, state-run human cruelty has now become possible with or without the mobilizing feelings of hatred.
very well researched well put together
in very good condition
arrived on time
gives a different perspective on the matter
Jan 6, 2011
I purchased this book in response to reading Sofsky's "Privacy: A Memoir." The volume on privacy is absolutely essential, as we live in a day when swaths of privacy are begin seized by governments.
The book on concentration camps is of another genre. The book puts the mentality behind the concentration camps in perspective.
I find the chapters require thought, not just reading. The reason for thought is so one may enter the world of those who entered the world of the camps, both captors and captives.
I recomment this book for those who want an indepth reading of events that long recede into the past but should be remembered.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.