The Nazi Death Camps, Then and Now
After the Battle (ATB) publications is a long lived publishing company that was recently acquired by Pen and Sword. For many years ATB published the quarterly magazine called, After the Battle. It recently was discontinued, but their many books use the same format of comparing photographs contemporary to the Second World War with modern views, hence the then and now moniker. They consistently publish articles and books of a very high quality. The images are superb, both contemporary and modern. They will be missed.
This volume tackles the unpleasant but relevant topic of the Nazi’s Death Camps. Originally published in 2016, Pen and Sword is republishing all of the ATB books, which is welcome. As with all of their books, it is a sturdy with beautifully reproduced photographs. In terms of content and organization, the book is divided geographically between Germany and the various countries occupied over the course of the war, both east and west of greater Germany. Many of the essays were pulled from other sources. Some were written by After the Battle staff writers and contributors. The photographs are extensively captioned and when taken together, produce concise stories of the major camps. Despite the various sources that these essays were pulled from, they all follow a similar format, focusing on the origins of the camp with the Nazi state, the personalities that managed them (and their fates), and brief descriptions of the camp. The longest chapters are devoted to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the most deadly of all of the camps.
I have been a subscriber to After the Battle Magazine for decades. I am very familiar with there then and now format and it works very well here. I am also personally related to victims of the Holocaust, so the material presented in this book speaks to me in so many ways. There is an unceasing drumbeat of misery in the description of the camps, the fate of the inmates, and the fate of the camp, but it is a story that everyone should hear and absorb. The book succeeds in pairing concisely written essays with comparison photographs of the major camps. At the end of the book, the phrase never forget was bouncing around my head. Anyone with an academic interest in the holocaust should add this to their library.
My thanks to IPMS and Pen and Sword Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book.