This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen

Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen is a collection of semi-autobiographical short sketches about his time in Auschwitz-Birenau.  The sketches in general reveal a different side of concentration camp life than one usually expects after reading Night by Wiesel.  While Night focuses on the suffering, death, and brutality of a death camp, Borowski reveals how political prisoners, better situated than the Jews, learned not only to survive but thrive in the camps.  By discussing these prisoners lives in the camp, we can see a whole new level of how the Nazi camps operated.  The political prisoners, of which Borowski was a part of, actually did the directed the Jews to the gas chambers when they arrived at Auschwitz, and, to show the complete indifference of these types of prisoners, Borowski discusses the numbers of Jews sent to the gas chambers not with sadness or regret but with apathy; this is just part of my job and my job is survival.  He also describes how they would search the Jews luggage and take what they needed as long as the Nazi soldiers did not claim something.  What Borowski exhibits can be sad and disheartening, how could he be so unemotional towards all the death around him, but I think this reveals a certain fact about human nature and that is survival; placed in the situation yourself would you act in self preservation or idealistically knowing that being idealistic will get you killed.  The only real criticism I have is that they sketches really have no connection and at times the work seems very disjointed but overall this is important book that examines other perspectives of concentration camp life and raises some important moral and ethical questions

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