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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story
     

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story

5.0 1
by Patricia Posner
 

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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz.

Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius's reign of terror at the camp,

Overview

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz.

Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius's reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, fueled in part by his theft of gold ripped from the mouths of corpses, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder twenty years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil s pact made between the Nazis and Germany's largest conglomerate, I.G. Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust. It is told through Nazi henchmen and industrialists turned war criminals, intelligence agents and zealous prosecutors, and intrepid concentration camp survivors and Nazi hunters.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler's war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution to postwar Germany's tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is a moving saga that lingers long after the final page.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2016-10-18
Pursuing newly opened legal archives to expose the case of a Romanian-born German pharmacist who was key in dispensing Zyklon B poison gas and attending to the selection process at Auschwitz.Why is a case decided at the 1965 trial of Nazi criminals garnering new interest? Miami-based journalist Posner, who has collaborated on many books with her husband, Gerald Posner, focuses on a little-known middle bureaucrat, Victor Capesius (1907-1985), who played an important role at the Auschwitz death camp yet flew under the denazification radar for many years after World War II. The hunting of Nazi criminals in Germany was stymied by the burden of having to prove that a defendant was linked to a specific killing. However, after the landmark decision in 2011 against John Demjanjuk, a former guard at Sobibor death camp—which stated that "it was impossible for anyone who served at Sobibor not to have played an integral part in mass murder"—many cases were reopened. Posner tells the story of a middling ethnic German man from a small Transylvanian town who gained his pharmaceutical doctorate degree from the University of Vienna and eventually landed a plum job as a national sales rep for Bayer, IG Farben's drug subsidiary. The author delves into the Farben role in building up the deadly Nazi war machine and specifically Farben's construction of a synthetic rubber-fuel plant run by slave labor: Auschwitz. Enlisted in the German army in 1943 and stationed to Auschwitz to take over the chief pharmacist job when his predecessor was arrested for "spreading defeatism," Capesius had the keys to the dispensary, which held medicine and the Zyklon B that was used in the gas chambers. Thousands of innocent people were selected to die by the flick of his hand. Posner ably delineates how Capesius and others enriched themselves by stealing inmates' jewelry and gold from their teeth. A gruesome story eloquently told.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781909979413
Publisher:
Crux Publishing
Publication date:
01/18/2017
Pages:
276
Sales rank:
60,348
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.62(d)

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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GeraldPosner 3 months ago
I have an advantage. I have an advance copy since the author is my wife. So I might be biased, but I'd like to think that I also have the distance to critically judge this book in a straightforward and objective way. As an author of 12 books, two of them about Nazis and World War II, I know good storytelling and a compelling tale when I see it. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz has both. It is a riveting and mostly unknown story from the war, built around a Victor Capesius, an odious SS officer at Auschwitz. Since Capesius was a pharmacist who worked for Bayer's Romanian subsidiary, Patricia also dives into the fascinating and infuriating partnership between German big business and the Nazis. British historian Andrew Roberts says that The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is "A harrowing, beautifully written and extremely well-researched account of a little-known aspect of the Holocaust. Patricia Posner’s fine prose style grips from page one, and the horror will stay with you long after you finish the book." Damien Lewis, author of The Nazi Hunters, says "Shocking. Revelatory. Compelling. A truly authentic and riveting read. A milestone in WWII and Holocaust history." And Kirkus says it is "A grusome story eloquently told." What I particularly love is that the last 1/3 of the book is about how two men, Hermann Langbein, a camp survivor, and Fritz Bauer, Germany's first postwar Jewish prosecutor, are responsible for brining Capesius to some form of justice. Congrats Patricia on a remarkable story.