Paperback review: Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account, By Mikios Nyiszli


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Miklos Nyiszli was a Hungarian Jewish doctor whose life was spared by the Nazis because he had trained at one time in Germany.

Ironically, it was Dr Josef Mengele who spared him, picking him out of a concentration camp line-up to have him live alongside the "Sonnerkommando" units of Jewish prisoners who had to strip the bodies of those who had died in the gas chambers, and to assist at the autopsies of those unfortunate souls on whom Mengele had decided to experiment. It's hard to imagine a more horrific read – as Nyiszli realises that so many of the children's bodies he must dissect are the results of deliberate acts of murder, whose hearts have stopped by an injection of chloroform – or a more compromising one, as he presents an often tired Mengele who even, on one occasion, "betrays a note of silent resignation".