14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A chilling study of the Nazi mind,
This review is from: Into That Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder (Paperback)
I found the title and author of this book whilst reading Escape From Sobibor (an excellent book by Richard Rashke).
I particularly wanted to read Into That Darkness as I felt it could help answer questions I have asked myself many many times. Just what was in the minds of the Nazi's who carried out some of the most horrific crimes beyond all comprehension. Did these murderers also have families and children themselves? What was it that drove them to such depths? Exactly what was in their minds when knowingly organising mass murder on such a massive scale?
Gitta Sereny held in depth interviews with Franz Stangl, a man who in the beginning was simply no more than a Police Officer but went on to become Camp Commandant of Sobibor and Treblinka, two of just five camps set up specifically for extermination. Sereny was the last person to interview Stangl as just nineteen hours after her she completed her last interview, he died.
Sereny first goes into the background of Stangl and takes him back to his childhood days. The evil Euthanasia programme he became involved in as a Police Officer which undoubtedly formed the foundation for the extermination camps. Later she moves on to discuss his family life in detail....his wife and children. Stangl's wife gave a great deal of help to Sereny and it becomes quite obvious that she deeply loved her husband. When Stangl was sent to organise Sobibor he told his wife he was involved in building and construction which, in part, was true. It was not until much later during a visit to see her husband that a drunk SS officer told her what was being done there.
Sereny devotes a large section of her book to the hypocrisy of the hierarchy within the Roman Catholic Church and quotes from documentation in detail, proving not only their knowledge of the Euthanasia programme, but also the mass murder of Jewish people. Many Roman Catholics have long lived in denial of this and any RC readers will find this part of the book quite uncomfortable. Sereny researched this in the finest detail possible accessing documents previously unavailable. Accept it or deny it....here is FACT from official documents.