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The Auschwitz Photographer

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Member Reviews

This is such a fascinating story. The horrors that were experienced and yet the will to survive is strong. This was a new perspective that I had not read about before and it captivated me from the beginning.
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A harrowing account of Wilhelm Brasse, a Polish prisoner who—by virtue of his fluency in German and his photography skills—is forced to act as a photographer for the Nazis in Auschwitz. He witnessed some truly heartbreaking things in the camp, from horrific torture to forced hysterectomies on drugged girls. There is a collection of photos at the end of the book that really hammers in deep the realities of Auschwitz. It's not without its moments of hope and levity, but this is a heavy book about a dark time—proceed with caution. Would recommend to this book to anyone interested in the subject matter.
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Incredible.  This book shines a light on another aspect of the inner workings of the Nazi death machine.  The author has clearly done their research well and has created a book which strikes an excellent balance between narrative and evidence.
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It amazes me that holocaust deniers exist. Every time I read a book or watch a movie or meet a survivor I am awed that anyone could turn a blind eye to this atrocious part of history and actually deny it ever happened. I don't read books like this for enjoyment, but rather to try to understand how humanity could be so depraved, heartless, cruel, violent, and utterly so disgusting I don't even think there is a word for it that can truly encapsulate the enormity of the evil that happened during the holocaust and pray that humanity never goes down that road again. Sadly, reading the news every day proves me wrong.

I will never forget how painful it still is to this day for people to even think of viewing images of the hand-drawn anatomy book by Eduard Pernkopf. The sad and disgusting truth of it is that the images that are so intricately detailed are those of holocaust victims. As a librarian, we discussed this book in class because it's a controversial topic, using such a vile piece of history to the benefit of modern-day science. I won't forget how students in the class had to ask the Professor to move past the slides depicting images from the book because it was too painful to view knowing the history behind it.

I hadn't thought of the book from that class until I started this book. Brasse was a prisoner, himself. Burdened with taking pictures of those he knew were destined to die. His photography training and his ability to speak German literally saved his life. I can't begin to imagine what kind of nightmares Wilhelm went through and what kind of ghosts haunted him. His pictures still exist and will be etched into history, much like the anatomy book above, giving voice to the innocent victims.

Wilhelm lived 94 years and helped to convict some of the Nazis who forced him to take these photographs by secretly burying thousands of the negatives in the camp's grounds.

A fascinating book and a horrifying reminder of how evil people can be.
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I loved this book! It was so interesting and easy to read. Very emotional as are all books on Auschwitz, but Wilhem is such a likable guy. He does what he can to survive and help who he can without selling his soul. That is what the Nazi’s want, his soul, for him to forget he is polish and embrace his German past. They try their best but he survives and manages to save what he can. 

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.
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The Auschwitz Photographer: Based on the True Story of Wilhelm Brasse 
Luca Crippa & Maurizio Onnis

"I looked death in the eyes. I did it fifty thousand times ...."

Description:
"The Nazis asked him to swear allegiance to Hitler, betraying his country, his friends, and everything he believed in. He refused.

Poland, 1939. Professional photographer Wilhelm Brasse is deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and finds himself in a deadly race to survive, assigned to work as the camp's intake photographer and take "identity pictures" of prisoners as they arrive by the trainload.

Brasse soon discovers his photography skills are in demand from Nazi guards as well, who ask him to take personal portraits for them to send to their families and girlfriends. Behind the camera, Brasse is safe from the terrible fate that so many of his fellow prisoners meet.

But over the course of five years, the horrifying scenes his lens capture, including inhumane medical "experiments" led by Josef Mengele, change Brasse forever.

Based on the true story of Wilhelm Brasse, The Auschwitz Photographer is a stark black-and-white reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. This gripping work of World War II narrative nonfiction takes readers behind the barbed wire fences of the world's most feared concentration camp, bringing Brasse's story to life as he clicks the shutter button thousands of times before ultimately joining the Resistance, defying the Nazis, and defiantly setting down his camera for good." 

Review:
So many people at Auschwitz, all with different jobs. In this book, Wilhelm Brasse, a young Pole is assigned to the Identification Service, where it is his job to take photos of the incoming prisoners. Later, he is tasked with taking photos of the monster Mengele's experiments. Thanks to Brasse, these photos were not destroyed at the end of war.

Terror, resilience, evil, death, unimaginable sights, heartache, perseverance.

Well written, suspenseful, highly recommend.

I was gifted this advance copy by NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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I’ve visited Auschwitz a couple of times in the last few years and I have always wondered who were the people that took the prisoners photographs and pictures from around the camp. I always assumed that it were the SS men who’s taken them. I never thought that the SS men would have prisoners do that job for them. But of course now it seems like a silly mistake of me to think that as SS men had everybody in the camps working for them. Some jobs were better then others and Wilhelm Brasse, the main character in this great narrative non-fiction, had some of those terrible jobs before he landed on to be the leader photographer in Auschwitz. Brasse‘s nationality was partially Austrian and the Nazis has asked him many times to join them so he can live a better life in the camp. Brasse always refused stating he is Polish and grappled with many thoughts on what’s been happening in the camp as we can see his thoughts and struggles in this story. He’s bent boundaries, fell in love, feared for his life every breath he took, but managed to help in any way he could to others to make their life’s a bit more bearable. 

This was an incredible story to read and told as a narrative nonfiction was a new discovery for me. Warning that this book is not light and there are many brutal and graphic things that happen in this story. If you always wondered about the men behind the cameras who took these photographs, you need to discover this story. Very well written incredible story that would be perfect to discuss with others.
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This is an absolute must-read. Period. As I was reading, I felt that this title read like a story. It is immensely well-written and the portions that the writers chose to highlight were just fantastically done. Where non-fiction tends to drag on in details, this one did not. I relished every chapter whether the authors chose to be winded or more brief. The floral postcard chapter, in particular, will stay with me forever. I did not mind the disclaimer that the stories were not directly told to the authors but rather, through Brasse's children and friends because they still retained so much character and meaning and beauty in something that was so, so awful. Even if some truth is lost in the storytelling, as that tends to happen, the finished product is a stunning and breathtaking piece of literature that I frankly did not want to end, even though much of what I read horrified me.

Whether the authors stayed true to Brasse's personality or not, they also did a great job making me fall in love with the character. He was such a respected man and realized all of the wrongs going on around him, but his sense of self-preservation did not ever dwindle his innate need to preserve others as well. I also loved the way this book humanized the SS and the kapos that Brasse directly worked with. They are human, as well. Their sense of care and respect for Brasse was fascinating to read about, as we tend to just think of the SS as order-following robots or murder machines. I even fell in love with Brasse's entire Identification Group cohort and the way they all looked out for each other and worked together and took in others. Just a beautiful snapshot of one group's time in the camp. 

If you are a reader who consumes nonfiction, particularly holocaust nonfiction or firsthand accounts, this is a can't miss.
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THIS BOOK. it broke my damn heart. I have already forced so many of my friends to add this to their TBR because i feel like everyone should read this & i’m so grateful i got accepted to read a copy! What a beautifully heartbreaking story, absolutely disgusting at parts but so so significant. Would highly recommend this to so many people !!!
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I have a soft spot for reading books about concentration camps regardless if they are fiction or nonfiction. I have read about the tattooist, the librarian, prisoners who worked in the hospital, prisoners who had to use their bodies and now the photographer of Auschwitz. Some survived and some didn’t. Reading these taught me about how resilient and incredible their fighting spirits were. When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it.

This story flows like a fiction story but most of the events that occured are true. Wilhem Brasse, a Polish political prisoner, was assigned to the Political Department Identification Service at Auschwitz camp due to his excellent photography skills. It seems that he is incredibly lucky because his SS officer thinks very highly of him but that doesn’t stop him from living in fear every day. That’s how Brasse became the photographer of Auschwitz from 1940-1945. HIs task is to take photos of the incoming prisoners,S officers and activities in the camp. Soon he was tasked to take photos of the medical experiment which horrified him. 

Brasse longed to be reunited with his family so he worked hard to stay alive. He kept his head down and minimise his interactions with people so he can live another day. Every day, he fights with his humanity and staying silent until one day, he can no longer turn a blind eye and decided to do something to help others. Compared to other stories I’ve read, Brasse and his team lived in better quarters and are able to work indoors. They were even well fed which is very rare in concentration camps.

There were photos included in the end of he book which is so chilling because it makes the situation so real. That these people are real and most of them had no identity. Just a face. You can see the fear and curiosity in their eyes. Sadly, most of them did not survive. This was an amazing read for me but also one that broke my heart. This is very horrifying to read but so important for people to know what has happened. Definitely not for the faint hearted!

Thank you @netgalley and @sourcebooks for the arc.
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Everyone should read this book. The true story of Wilhelm Brasse who was a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz and ordered to photograph the prisoners and even the horrific scientific tortuous experiments  that was done to these poor people. He also was asked to take photographic portraits of the guards and other leaders. The details of what he saw and photographed are atrocious - true evil acts. Up until this book, I hadn’t heard of Mr Brasse’s story. It’s remarkable. Please read this one. Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing me a copy of this incredible book.
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CW: Nazis, war, antisemitism, torture, murder, death

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Nonfiction for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

In this book, we read about the men who were used in identification at Auschwitz, taking photographs of prisoners sent to the camps, as well as photos the staff/captors requested, usually in return for favors, such as bread and butter, or cigarettes. Though some narrative was added to the story to make it more interesting, these are real people, and these jobs did exist. The men who had them were sent to the camp as prisoners, but spared when higher-ups learned of their photography skills. 

I did have to stop reading halfway, but only because the content was so heavy, and I knew that I was not in a place to consume all of it. However, I found it extremely interesting, and definitely recommend taking your time through this if you are interested in learning about a different perspective of Auschwitz.
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Everyone that knows me or has read my reviews should know by this point that I am a WWII junkie. I love devouring books about that time frame, real or fiction. I love learning about that time and the incredible souls that fought against Hitler and his people and survived to tell the tale or just did something amazing that helps the resistance. Their stories should and need to be told. When I saw this book available for review, I knew I had to read it.

The Auschwitz Photographer is told like a fiction story, but the entire thing is real. It is the story of Wilhelm Brasse, a polish political prisoner held at Auschwitz Concentration Camp from 1940-1945. He as Aryan too, but refused to join the German’s, held true to his Polish lineage, and was a prison. Fortunately for him, he had a talent that kept him on the nicer end of things at Auschwitz, which isn’t saying much, but it helped keep him alive to one day return to his family and helped document things we never would have seen had he not. As a photographer, he was recruited to photograph prisons, SS crew, and more.

This story is phenomenal. It’s reads like a historical fiction story, but is true in every way. Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis did a phenomenal job of telling Brasse’s story. The details are so disgusting that you feel like you are in the story standing next to the prisoners wondering how people can be treated so terribly. I learned things that happened in Auschwitz that I didn’t know before, and honestly made me so sad. The writing is a well flowing story of strength and perseverance in the worse of times and with the worst of humanity breathing down your throat; a story of heartache and loneliness. It’s always strange reading a story that takes place in a concentration camp because you feel terrible hearing what people went through, but the writers of The Auschwitz Photographer had me cheering on the prisoners, smiling at the small moments of happiness they managed to find, and feeling my own chest ache when something terrible happened to them. I felt everything.

I’ve read some pretty phenomenal stories from this time, but never have I read a book quite like this one. It was so raw and real that you feel everything with them, but it reads as smoothly as a fiction novel someone made up. I’m not sure if that makes me incredibly sad or not, because someone lived this. Someone survived this. And yet I wished I was reading a fiction novel because I don’t want it to be true. I’m glad to have read Wilhelm Brasse’s story. I’m honored to know what he did. Everyone should read this. Everyone should know the atrocities that happened so as not to repeat history. Everyone should know this heroes story. One of the absolute best World War II stories I’ve ever picked up.
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Book Review
The Auschwitz Photographer by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis

Thank you to @netgalley and @sourcebooks for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review

This one tore my heart. I have always been fascinated by the past. I look to historical fiction books to shed light on past events, to share the personal experiences of those that lived through war, famine, the depression. To “hear” the voices of those we have lost, and learn.

This book….. this book gave me the words to read and the photos to visualize the horrors and atrocities from the Holocaust.
Was it a good book? Did I enjoy it? 
I wont comment.
It was uncomfortable.
It will stay with me.
I am in awe of the bravery and courage of those that lived this experience. They deserve soo much more.

If you are looking to educate yourself, read it.
If you are looking to understand, read it.

The trigger warnings are too numerous to count. The appendices are worth your time. 

Read.
Learn.
Know.
And may history never repeat itself.
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This is a tough one for me.

Good points - an unusual side of Auschwitz to see: someone working in a relatively 'privileged' position. Also, good to see descriptions of multiple types of prisoners - the Jewish, Roma, disabled, Polish all get their stories told.

However, the book opens with a disclaimer that some events have been moved in time to fit the narrative. That immediately set my alarm bells ringing. If this is a true account of real events, things can't be moved around. The moment artistic liberty is taken, we move away from the truth and invite claims that nothing here is true. That unsettled me.

Some of the main bulk of the narrative is a little focussed on more of the shocking 'horrors' than Brasse's own feelings or expanding on the personalities of the Erkennungsdienst. The reason for this comes at the end of the book - it turns out that the authors never spoke or interviewed Brasse himself, only his children. They had access to archives and a BBC documentary, but that's all second hand, filtered through other people's perspectives and biases.

Therefore, while this is a fascinating account, I am hesitant about how much is editorialized and how much is actually true. I think this would have been better served as a more academic work and less a full narrative presenting things that the authors could never have known about/followed up/ascertained the truth of.
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My Recommendation ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“The Auschwitz Photographer”
 by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis

Based on the True Story of Wilhelm Brasse—Prisoner 3444— The Auschwitz Photographer Whose Photos Yet Remind the World of the Holocaust 

Trained as a photographer in his aunt and uncle's studio prior to WWII, Wilhelm Brasse of mixed Austrian and German descent, repeatedly refused to join Nazi forces and was ultimately sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp as a prisoner in 1940 at the age of 23 until liberated in 1945 when Soviet forces invaded.

“The Auschwitz Photographer” by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis is an extraordinarily well researched biography of Brasse’s life spent under SS domination during his incarceration.

Like all other prisoners—Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, dwarfs, and political enemies—Brasse initially experienced all of the harrowing existence that life at Auschwitz offered under Nazi rule: starvation rations, extreme temperatures, soldier brutality, strenuous labor, lack of sanitation and poor housing.

Brasse’s conditions improved significantly when the Camp Commandant decided that keeping a physical and photographic record of all prisoners was needed.  Inmate photographers were enlisted for this purpose in the Auschwitz Identification Service, and Brasse was considered the best.  

As the chief Auschwitz portraitist, Brasse and his team of inmate photographers recorded three poses of each new arrival: looking forward, profile and three-quarters turn.  The photographers also had a warm studio in which to work and more food rations than other prisoners.

Brasse was also tapped by Reich Captain and Doctor Josef Mengele to document some of his experimental medical research.  This unnerving job was to photograph skeletal young girls without their clothes; sets of twins; individuals with different color eyes; and dwarfs, among others.  All of these pictures played havoc with Brasse’s mind and tormented him for the remainder of his life.

They also gave him courage to disobey a direct order from the Identity Service commander on the day the Russian Army arrived near the camp.  Told to destroy all prisoner photos and negatives, Brasse instead placed them where they could be easily found.

Brasse’s photos are believed to be some of those that helped convict Nazi henchmen at the Nuremberg Trials.  He is also credited with helping establish the Auschwitz Holocaust Memorial Museum to force the world to remember one of the most horrendous acts ever committed on mankind.

========
 
The Book Maven’s Journal—Reviews for Word Connoisseurs
REVIEWER:                J. Hunt
STAR RATING           ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“The Auschwitz Photographer”
by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis
Genre:  History   |  Non-Fiction |   Biography 
Publication Date:  6 September 2021
Publisher:  Sourcebooks & in Great Britain by Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld Publishers.

With Sincerest Appreciation to NetGalley, Authors Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis, and Sourcebooks / Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, for Providing this Advance Reader’s Copy for Review.
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translated, nonfiction, WW2, biography, survival, Jews, prisoners-of-war, real-horror, never-again, bravery, historical-places-events, historical-research, history, survivor's guilt*****

Photographing the deeds of evil as a means of staying alive.
This one man with notable photographical skills was German and Polish and made to photograph the murdered before they were gassed. The narrative is presented in prose as if it was fiction. But it is not. It is a documentation of real horror, just as the photos documented who was murdered at Auschwitz and when. There was even an officer with a fondness for pictures of tattoos who ordered photos of them. One particularly beautiful was on a man's back and the photographer was shown the skin tacked out for tanning as the officer was having it made into a book cover. Well, that's just one example of the horrors, and that doesn't include the things done to political prisoners and others. There are a few pictures and the documentation at the end.
Translated from the Italian by Jennifer Higgins.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook from Sourcebooks via NetGalley. Thank you.
Never again.
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After reading this gripping and haunting true WWII story I am crushed, horrified, angered, dismayed, disgusted and heart sick.  Capturing my thoughts concisely is difficult as they are scattered and reeling.  The degradation and pervasive evil human beings are capable of is unspeakable...and millions experienced the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  When Polish photographer Wilhelm Brasse was deported to the camp in 1939 for refusing to side with Germany, he suffered impossible conditions.  People went there to die and die horribly just for not fitting extreme ideals.  Brasse's technical skills took him to the Identification Service area of the camp where he was told in no uncertain terms he would face the same fate if he did not cooperate fully by taking and developing perfect photographs.  He was offered freedom for becoming one of "them".

As Brasse was so meticulous and trustworthy, he was responsible for photographing thousands of prisoners, including labels staying who they were and why they were there.  Some prisoners were brand new and had no idea what their fate was but most were nearly lifeless.  Brasse was also skilled in retouching so began taking personal and confidential photographs of Nazi guards.  Soon Josef Mengele arrived and ordered Brasse to photograph heinous experiments.  He was deeply sickened by his duties but treated his "clients" with care and dignity, affording them one precious moment of humanity.  His goal was to do good each day. This book is about extreme torment in every way possible, beyond comprehension.  But we also see tender moments.  Not all guards were killers.  We see behind the scenes into the darkest minds and of those with a modicum of gentleness.  

So many stories will stick with me for life including those of tattooed prisoners, treatment of Russians (the lowest of the low), reprisal killings, slaughter of innocents and the heroism of the man of cloth.  Block 26 is firmly etched on my brain.  The excruciating photos at the end are gut churning but so very important.  What Brasse did to help the Resistance is remarkable.  I cannot fathom enduring one day of the agonies he witnessed.  He was (is!) a true hero.  Knowing what he knew must have caused him to die a thousand deaths each day.  His words and deeds reached my soul.  The authors ought to be commended.

Please, please take the time to read this book.  Details are graphic and grisly but the story is crucial.  I am grateful it has been told.

My sincere thank you to SOURCEBOOKS and NeteGalley for the privilege and honour of reading the awful yet remarkable story of Mr. Brasse.  If only it were required reading.
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This is the story of Wilhelm Brasse who was a Polish prisoner at Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940-1945.  He managed to survive the ordeal by becoming important to the Germanys as a photographer.  He was responsible for taking ID photos of the prisoners  as they came in, as well as portraits for the officers to send home to their families.  Later on he was required to make photo documentation of the medical experiments that took place at Auschwitz.  It was a very interesting story that I had not read about before.  Some stories need to be told even if they are difficult to hear.  If you are  a fan of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this is a book for you.
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Wilhelm Brasse spent an astonishing five years in the Auschwitz concentration camp as a photographer in the identification office. His history of recollections are the basis of this book, although they are not direct survivor interviews, but a BBC interview and also a book he himself wrote. The sourcing of this is rather thin, and I have automatically removed a star for that reason.

That said, Brasse was arrested after refusing to fight for the German army after the invasion and capture of Polish. Although born in Poland to a Polish mother, his ancestry on his father's side was German. For his refusal, he was arrested, imprisoned, and ultimately sent to Auschwitz. At first selected for hard labor, he was pulled from that work to head the new identification office, so the Nazis could keep track of the many Jews and others sent there to be exterminated.

The timeline in this narrative details how Brasse kept his head down and rarely looked out a window while at work- the better to survive what a part of him knew might very well be his eventual death in the camp.

After many chapters given over to the photographs of people arriving via train, the Nazis decided that cataloguing  Jews and undesirables was a waste, since so many were killed straightaway. Brasse's job then shifts more into portraiture: SS soldiers and officers getting their portraits made to send to their parents, for instance, and when the Birkenau barracks were constructed, the women bound for those instead of the crematoria that run nonstop.

There is a brief suggestion of an almost romance between Brasse and a Polish interpreter for the German  kapo in charge of bringing female subjects for Brasse to photograph, but this eventually goes nowhere - how could it be otherwise, the way prisoners were kept to a rigid schedule.

Brasse and his office lived in better quarters and had steady, indoor work during brutal winters. They even managed to barter their services with the kitchens to keep themselves well fed.

When a large group of Russian POWs are brought the the camp, they are dutifully photographed for identification purposes, and like all the others, Brasse pushes their fate out of his mind as well as he can until someone tells him the Nazis are doing nothing to them: not selecting them for work or not, not feeding them, not anything. They are simply starved to death. Brasse happens to pass the area where they are being held and describes them as ghosts, thin, with their bones protruding as though they will break the skin, and with blank, dead eyes. He claims to have strayed near the fence where a Russian was standing, and reached through the wire to touch the Russian's hand. The Russian soldier tells him that he is not a communist, then falls over, dead. This seems to be an iffy portion, as it is backed up by nothing other than Brasse saying it happened. We do know that Brasse was given an amount of freedom most other prisoners were not - his skills as a photographer saving his life, after all - but would he have been allowed to be anywhere near the Russians, as he was simply walking between one place and another through the camp?

Eventually, his boss calls him to what is a small viewing room, to show him a film. In it, the Russian prisoners are taken to a building that has been boarded up, and marched inside. The Nazis then throw canister of what are presumed to be Zyklon B into the building and close and seal the door. His boss has set up a camera inside the building, and has filmed the chaos of the people within trying to find an exit, only to find none. Throughout the book, Brasse claims that his boss speaks to him about declaring that he is German, and that it could be arranged for him to visit his family in Poland before he is sent to his assignment. He claims his boss attempts yet again to sway him, after viewing this film. 

Later, Brasse becomes the photographer of choice for the doctors performing medical experiments, like forced sterilization of young women, and the various experiments performed by Josef Mengele himself, who wanted images of twins and dwarfs, along with another doctor who was fascinated by the prisoners with eyes that were different colors from one another.

There is a section describing the images and plates struck of counterfeit currencies, although this is very late and not very useful to the Nazis in the end.

As we know, the war was moving inevitably toward Germany. Toward the end, Brasse's boss drives away to escape the advancing Russian army, and orders Brasse to destroy all of the negatives, photos, and especially the film of the Russian soldiers who were murdered there. As Brasse and his colleagues attempt to do so, these items will not burn. They concoct  a story about how they tried, and even throw the tiny office into disarray, as if they had feverishly tried to follow the order, but Brasse stops them, and settles himself in to inform his boss of same, knowing it could mean a bullet in the head. However, his boss does not return, nor do any of the other SS men who escaped west toward Germany and away from the Russians.

After a few days, the camp is emptied and all the prisoners are forced to march out of Auschwitz. Brasse winds up in Mauthausen, and is eventually liberated. At 27 years old, he is finally a free man again.

After some time with his family, he sets out for another town in Poland to try to find the woman he'd met in Auschwitz, and of whom he had taken a portrait- the only thing he took with him when the prisoners were marched out. He does find her,but is disappointed when he finds her somewhat distant. He presents her with the photo, which she tears apart and allows to fall on the floor. She told him she didn't like herself when she was there, and who could blame her? He leaves, dejected, and recalls his uncle saying something basically that meant women couldn't be pleased, which I thought was a really shitty thing to include, regardless of whether or not it was true.

An afterword tell us that Brasse eventually married, had children and grandchildren of his own, and died peacefully, surrounded by family. Interestingly, he could not bear to become a photographer again for a living, after having taken and developed between 40 and 50 thousand photos in Auschwitz-Birkenau, so went into a different line of work. I can't say I could blame him for that.

There is also an afterword by the authors, indicating their sources, as I noted in the opening. The third item on their source list is Night, by Elie Wiesel, which I thought an odd inclusion.

At the end, there are also photos, although there are notes that indicate not all of these photos may have been taken by Brasse.

Overall, it is a challenging read because of the nature of the work Brasse and his colleagues did and the often arbitrary treatment of the prisoners in the camp. Squeamish readers may wish to skip the parts describing the work of the crematoria crews and the experiments carried out by Mengele and others.

Is it a good oral history from a survivor? It is well written, in a straight timeline, and the horrors witnessed by Brasse and other survivors is all too shamefully real, as we well know. The very small sourcing pool, though, should be held for more scrutiny. I would recommend it with these caveats

Three out of five stars.

Thanks to SourceBooks and NetGalley for the reading copy.
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