"Shocking. Revelatory. Compelling. A truly authentic and riveting read. A milestone in WWII and Holocaust history." – Damien Lewis, author: The Nazi Hunters
"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." – Andrew Roberts, author: The Storm of War
"A gruesome story, eloquently told." – Kirkus Reviews
"Posner avoids sensationalism and gives us a harrowing and important read." – Jewish Renaissance
"Posner's book doubles as the spellbinding story of Nazi Germany's largest industrial conglomerate, I.G. Farben . . . [and] in one important way, her book is a celebration of a rare kind of heroism. Its compelling side story offers an in-depth profile of Nazi hunter Fritz Bauer, who proved relentless in hunting down Capesius and bringing him to justice." – Dallas Morning News
"The research is impeccable . . . The prose is clear and concise . . . Good for you, Patricia Posner, for documenting a story that really is not yet over. This is a gripping read. Highly recommended." – miamiartzine
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.
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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz
A fascinating book that is meticulously documented and carefully presented. I am aware of most of the grisly details surrounding Auschwitz. My major revelation is how the large German chemical firms profited from this atrocity and how many said corporations still exist today in one form or another. Shameful.
I’ve read more than 100 books on the Nazi disaster. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz brings a surprisingly detailed narrative of one person’s complicity in the murder of countless thousands of innocent souls. Nearly 80 years after the beginning of the war, we have still not come to terms with the scope of the disaster nor have we embraced the world’s collective culpability.
This was one of the best books I have ever read about the crimes and life at Auschwitz. I found the book fascinating reading. It’s sometimes difficult reading, but I could not put it down. The story was told in such a manner that it’s difficult for us today to believe such atrocities actually took place. Overall an absolutely spell-binding story. A must read if you want to learn about the horrors at Auschwitz.