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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Tadeusz Borowski’s concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau. In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanke Tadeusz Borowski’s concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau.
In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanket or the luxury of a pair of shoes with thick soles, and where the line between normality and abnormality completely vanishes. Published in Poland after the Second World War, these stories constitute a masterwork of world literature.
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Paperbackpages. Published November 26th by Penguin Classics first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Are we to take this book as a true portrayal of events or as a work of fiction? And if it is considered non fiction has Borowski used artistic license in some areas? Manisha Nandy Mazumder True events.
If you have seen the documentaries of History channel on these concentration camps, you will know that what Borowski has written is …more True events.
If you have seen the documentaries of History channel on these concentration camps, you will know that what Borowski has written is absolutely true. It seems fantastic and surreal to us because we cannot imagine that someone might have gone through such hardships and torture.
Tadeusz Borowski – Wikipedia
All survivors of these camps have testified to the stories. Raw footage of these camps are also available. You will have to search the archives of History channel. It is pretty extensive. Lists with This Book. Feb 28, Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing Shelves: I found this book very difficult to read.
Not like Joyce or Proust or Faulkner, but because — when exactly do you read this? In the evening after a good dinner?
Well, at bedtime then? Not unless you want nightmares.
I have read a few of these concentration camp memoirs, which, strangely insultingly, are classified as FICTION when they are, of course, the truth. But here, in the concentration camp world, reality reads like fiction, it is true. Tadeusz Borowski writes with a heavy black humour I found this book very difficult to read. Tadeusz Borowski writes with a heavy black humour about Auschwitz, which some may find almost unbearable. I now have a certain level of knowledge. I can distinguish between the wildcat camps ofthe political prisoner camps like Dachau, the work camps like Mauthausen, and the terminal points of the three extermination camps Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor, which really should be much more famous than they are.
But their fate was to exist very temporarily, for a year or 18 months, then to be bulldozed, and for the ground to be ploughed, and tilled, and for a farmhouse to be built and a family installed there who were to say they had farmed the land of Belzec for generations.
Unlike the camps which were liberated, and therefore photographed. No photos of Belzec! And I can compare all those to the empire that was Auschwitz. So the nuts and bolts of the holocaust have become well known to me over the years. It is jolting and upsetting. The first jolt comes on the third page of the title story and what a title, surely one of the greatest titles in literature. These were prisoners whose job was to get the Jews out of the cattle trucks, up the ramps and off to the crematoria.
Once that was done they picked up all the luggage which the Jews could not, of course, take with them. In this luggage was a whole lot of food — good stuff too, wine, cured meat, sausage, cheese, you name it. They also had their pick of the clothes in the luggage, so they dressed pretty well too. Imagine, prisoners living well at Auschwitz! It is almost over. The dead are being cleared off the ramp and piled into the last truck.
The Canada men, weighed down under a load of bread, marmalade and sugar, and smelling of perfume and fresh linen, line up to go. For several days the entire camp will live off this transport. So now we overhear a conversation between two of these prisoners. He appreciates the good things these transports of Jews are constantly bringing. But — how long can this go on? No more sausages, for sure.
Well, it was a worry. The stories here inhabit what Primo Levi calls the grey zone, the compromised, corrupted world where there is no innocence, only degrees of guilt. He describes the recreational facilities in Auschwitz. Right after the boxing match I took in another show — I went to hear a concert. Over in Birkenau you could probably never imagine what feats of culture we are exposed to up here, just a few kilometres away from the smouldering chimneys.
This is a distraction, like other author suicides. The work always stands by itself, it is not placed by the grotesque act of suicide into a sphere beyond judgement. Readers encounter the reality inside these words, not outside. And inside these stories the atmosphere is oppressive, the fumes acrid, the stench is unbearable, the company not the best. When I finished this book I looked around.
One of the cats jumped onto the windowledge for another few hours of birdwatching. Do I recommend this book? View all 20 comments. Oct 14, Violet wells rated it it was amazing.
This is an account of Auschwitz, in the form of a series of first person short stories, from someone who is still begrimed and drenched in its depravity. The tone of the book, perfectly captured in its title, is thus deeply disturbing. In fact it reads like a suicide note. Concentration camp stories tend to focus on the fortitude and humanity of inmates. R This is an account of Auschwitz, in the form of a series of first person short stories, from someone who is still begrimed and drenched in its depravity.
Rarely do we see the darker side of what people did to survive. Rarely do we see the hierarchies among the inmates.
Rarely do we see how successfully in their evil genius the Nazis stripped individuals of all moral sense. They have their close inner circle of useful contacts and friends but are numbed to ggazu about the plight of everyone outside that circle. Power, as he states, is earned by the exploitation of others. People will always seek power and perhaps never more so than when they are made to feel powerless. Perhaps the most memorable image in the book is of a game of football the narrator is playing while a transport arrives at the ramp.
He registers the arrival of a train full of Hungarian Borowsli the next moment his attention strays from the game the entire convoy has disappeared. This book is as disturbed as it is disturbing. Borowski, you feel, deliberately eschewed all temptation to make his material palatable, subject in any way to reason.
He wanted to speak from the ground, not from the meditated hindsight of a library or study. View all 30 comments. Sep 29, Steven Godin rated it it was amazing Shelves: Drenched in sweat from an unbearable heat they munch on stale bread with burning throats as dry as scorched sand.
Tadeusz Borowski is one of them. Outside the cattle carts are arriving, and that can only mean one thing.
The unforg “Great columns of smoke rise from the crematoria and merge above into a huge black river which very slowly floats across the sky over Birkenau and disappears beyond the forests. The unforgettable screams, the confusion, the madness, the horrendous stench of death. Men, women, children, infants. Welcome, your extermination awaits. Brutal, ruthless, relentless, the cold eyes of the SS look on, their well oiled machine is in full working order, a machine spewed up onto the earth from the guts of hell There are 12 short accounts of Borowski’s concentration camp experiences, Borowski was arrested by the Gestapo in Warsaw inshortly after publishing his debut book of poetry, before being sent to his new home.
This is without question one of the most powerful books I will ever read.