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I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz Hardcover – 1 Jun 1948
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It is amazing
Mr. Koch did us no favors exaggerating what Dr. Perl plainly told him - - she ministered to the sick, the injured, the dying in a place of unimaginable filth, terror and death. My argument is it CAN be imagined without overstatement; Germans do not have wolves' teeth! Surely prisoners were beaten, beaten to death in many cases. Certainly, people starved, were too weak to endure hours standing in snow and rain, got sick and died!
As you well know, there are several sources that document the shameful Nazi era. There is no rationale to sensationalize the stories, they are what the survivors mean them to be - witness. Witness in all the insane, illogical truth one people can inflict upon another in the name of hatred.
Mr. Koch embellishes the soap making report. Was soap made from human fat? Yes, some. The real soap anecdote was a quite successful terror myth (investigate the confusion with RIF and RJF). Was potassium nitrate used for anything but food preservation and thickening of the thin gruel? No - not to ulcerate the stomach, not to subdue sexual drives. Does Mr. Koch confuse gingivitis with scurvy? Yes, he does. Does he mention the Auschwitz orchestra? Of course - but he gets its purpose wrong. Koch misspells Mengele's name, and he gets wrong the German interest in twins. Mengele knew how twins come about, what he investigated was their simultaneous deaths (unusual in nature) and an interest in multiple births for increasing the Aryan population.
Did humanity raise its pitiful head when barter made odd transactions? Yes; sex or a bit of food or competent medical expertise can often buy you anything! Mr. Koch was somewhat handicapped by a lack of published research data on the methods and practices in the Camps, so he is excused for ignorance. But, he took a simple story and needlessly magnified the already terrible deeds and conditions, and he mistakenly expected dross could pass for historical biography. An example of his laxity is the description of the crematoria - confusing burning pits with retorts; there were both He did not identify the property warehouse as 'Canada.' Dr. Perl would have known that. Koch is NOT the modern Western genre writer of the same name.
Dr. Perl eventually came to the USA and worked as a doctor in New York City, later moving to Israel. While here, she was investigated for war crimes and cleared. The crime? Abortion of fetuses at nearly any length of term. Her deliberate murder of full-term babies chills us to this day. She took life to save a life. To save one life is to save all mankind - - you've heard that before, I'm sure. To save a woman (who could possibly live to have other children) in this way is a terrible kindness, one can only pray will somehow be forgiven.
In the face of a culture (Kultur??) deliberately made government policy for the eradication of an entire population based on religion (Jews), or race (Roma), or mental capacity - in the face of such evil, survival is the only winner.
I don't know of a Gypsie survival book or one written by an asylum inmate who escaped the euthanasia program. I do know of Primo Levi and others who gave accounts in such stark, horrid prose there was no need to embellish. Dr. Perl employed the wrong ghostwriter.
A film loosely based on this subject centers around Dr. Perl's testimony at her INS hearings and is presented in flashbacks.
As someone already noted, this book is free on download; just Google it.
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