“KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann
Nazis are bad mmmkay? This is basic knowledge we are taught in school. We are also taught that one of the reasons Nazis were bad was because of concentration camps. I have been fascinated with WW2 since I was a kid. I wrote a paper on Hitler in the 4th grade, and read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich around that time. I never actually learned that much about concentration camps though. I remember knowing that about 6 million Jews were killed during the war in the camps, and they just killed people all the time in th camps. These facts I learned in school are basically true, but it isn’t the whole story behind the concentration camps.
This book goes far deeper than any I’ve read about WW2. It takes you back to when the camps were setup. In the beginning, they were mostly used to put political rivals and members of the intelligentsia in ‘protective custody’ so the Nazis could solidify their grip on the state. It was also used as a warning to others who would resist them.
It covers all aspects of the camps from the political games at the top played by Himmler. It describes what life was like for the ‘special’ squad who were tasked with cleaning up the dead bodies after they were gassed. It also goes into detailed explanation about other methods of killing the Nazis used before they settled on gassing + crematoria. It talked about labour projects the SS setup to try to make money, and make armaments for the war. It described the lavish lifestyle the SS officers enjoyed. It detailed the camp organizational structure and how they were physical setup.
This is the be-all-end-all book about concentration camps. No book about The Third Reich would be complete without a thorough explanation of the concentration camps. The scholarship that went into this book is incredible. It is incredibly detailed, but also ‘easy’ to read, as much as a book about this topic can be. A 800+ page book seems daunting, but it is worth it. We should learn our history, lest we repeat it.
Rating: ★★★★★ Book #116 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge #Books #BookReview #WW2 #Nazi #ConcentrationCamp #History #NonFiction”,