Friday, December 3, 2010

Book of Choice: The SS-State

"The SS-State – The System of the German Concentration Camp" by Eugen Kordon was first published in 1946 and it definitely was an inconvenient book for many Germans at that time - which makes it even more important. To this day, it's one of the most informative books on the SS and the concentration camps. Kordon was imprisoned in Buchenwald for six years and he was able to use the testimony of many other prisoners to write his book.

The book shows how the SS quickly grew into a state within a state and gives a very detailed view of life in a concentration camp. At times it's hard to read. Dying in horrible and random ways was always a possibilty, even if you knew all the unwritten rules. Kogon also shows how the prisoners were able to organize themselves and save lifes by sabotage, "losing" written orders and many other methods. Both the best and the worst side of human nature are visible here.

If you only read three books on the Third Reich, I recommend this one, Sebastian Haffner's "The Meaning of Hitler" and "The Yellow Star" by Gerhard Schoenberner.

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