The Druggist of Auschwitz by Dieter Schlesak
A Documentary Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 8 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Dieter Schlesak’s haunting novel The Druggist of Auschwitz—beautifully translated from the German by John Hargraves—is a frighteningly vivid portrayal of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of criminal and victim alike.

Adam, known as “the last Jew of Schäßburg,” recounts with disturbing clarity his imprisonment at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Through Adam’s fictional narrative and excerpts of actual testimony from the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial of 1963–65, we come to learn of the true-life story of Dr. Victor Capesius, who, despite strong friendships with Jews before the war, quickly aided in and profited from their tragedy once the Nazis came to power. Interspersed with historical research and the author’s face-to-face interviews with survivors, the novel follows Capesius from his assignment as the “sorter” of new arrivals at Auschwitz—deciding who will go directly to the gas chamber and who will be used for labor—through his life of lavish wealth after the war to his arrest and eventual trial.

Schlesak’s seamless incorporation of factual data and testimony—woven into Adam’s dreamlike remembrance of a world turned upside down—makes The Druggist of Auschwitz a vital and unique addition to our understanding of the Holocaust.


 

About Dieter Schlesak

See more books from this Author
Dieter Schlesak is a German-Romanian poet, novelist, and essayist. He is a member of the German PEN Center and the PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad, and has received scholarships and awards from numerous organizations, including the Schiller Foundation and the University of Bucharest. Schlesak was born in Transylvania in 1934 and has lived in Italy and Germany since 1973. John Hargraves has taught German literature at Yale University and Connecticut College. He is the author of Music in the Works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka and has translated works by Hermann Broch and Elias Canetti, among others. His translation of Michael Kruger's novel The Executor was awarded the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. Hargraves lives in Manhattan and Connecticut.
 
Published April 26, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 384 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, War, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Druggist of Auschwitz

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

For he sees himself as both a German and a Jew, and it is in his German, not the debased German of his captors, that he preserves an epic of conflicted identity.

Apr 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

In this “documentary novel,” a Romanian pharmacist collaborates with the Nazis.

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Schlesak, in his first book in English translation, is interested in documentation, here achieved through a collage of facts and firsthand narratives of the Holocaust by victims and perpetrators alike.

Feb 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

In fact, Adam observes, that may be almost as bad as the crimes themselves — "it was precisely this ability that made Auschwitz possible in the first place!"

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Nightmares that were LIVED," asks Adam Salmen, a fictional Auschwitz concentration camp inmate in Dieter Schlesak's The Druggist of Auschwitz: A Documentary Novel.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

NPR

See more reviews from this publication

Dieter Schlesak, a poet born in Transylvania of German and Romanian descent, calls his book "a documentary novel," because much of the book is made up of testimony and evidence given in a trial of a concentration camp officer that took place in Germany in the 1960s.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Schlesak constructs the book in nine parts, with some chapter headings reading like a history text: “The Auschwitz Dispensary,” “The German Obsession with Racial ‘Purity’ and the German Language as a Cure.” Carefully ordered historical material ensures that no group is spared from harsh examination.

May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

BookRack

The Druggist of Auschwitz is the title of this book, and for most the title is enough to either want you to read this book or stay away from it.

Mar 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Druggist of Auschwitz: A ...

Reader Rating for The Druggist of Auschwitz
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 21 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×