In From the Margins, I post my margin notes – along with my favourite quotations – from the books (or articles) I’ve read.

Friedrich, Otto
The Kingdom of Auschwitz
The Atlantic Monthly, September 1981

Read the original article here.

  • SS Major Rudolf Hoess, who created first concentration camp beyond border’s of the Reich, was pious (31).
  • “There was never a consistent policy on anything at Auschwitz, not even on killing” (36).
  • “Many prominent German corporations – among them Krupp, Siemens, and Bayer – were interested in what might be negotiated. Aushwitz began developing a network of outlying subcamps… the prisoners worked at a cement plant in Goleszow, coal mine in Wesola, a steel factory in Gliwice, a shoe factory in Chelmek” (42).
  • The SS oath: “I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, loyalty and valour. I pledge to you… obedience unto death, so help me God” (44). Those who suggest the Nazi regime was atheistic are mistaken.
  • “What was happening at Auschwitz could not be imagined and therefore could not be believed, not even when photographed; could not be believed even when reported in detail by escaping prisoners; could not be believed, and therefore could not be stopped” (54).
  • “Allied leaders, preoccupied with military strategy, remained skeptical. There was a certain amount of anti-Semitism in Washington, and in the United States at large (not to mention Britain and Russia), and those who heard the recurrent reports from Poland tended to regard them as propaganda, wildly exaggerated. Even those who were inclined to intervene on behalf of the Jews feared being accused of diverting resources from the overall war effort” (54).
  • “The evidence of Auschwitz has demonstrated many things about humanity. It has demonstrated that men (and women) are capable of committing every evil the mind can conceive, that there is no natural or unwritten law that says of any atrocity whatsoever: This shall not be done” (60).
    -> “The evidence has demonstrated, moreover, that those who are ready to sacrifice themselves for one another, those who share a commitment to some political or spiritual purpose, are as likely to survive as those who make survival their only goal” (60).