Auschwitz by Léon Poliakov

By Léon Poliakov

En 1964, Léon Poliakov présente un recueil de records intitulé Auschwitz. L'ouvrage est le preferable du style en France. L'auteur avait découvert et rassemblé des assets dans le cadre du Centre de documentation juive contemporaine ; elles avaient servi à l. a. délégation française, dont il fut membre, au procès de Nuremberg. automobile l'histoire du génocide en France a longtemps été écrite dans les marges de l. a. communauté juive organisée, ignorée de l'Université, par des autodidactes qui apprirent sur le tas l. a. rigueur de l'écriture de l'histoire. Poliakov était de ces très rares.

Dans cette histoire totale, il conjugue, pionnier, les deux elements qui étaient encore mal distingués : Auschwitz, haut lieu du génocide ; Auschwitz, camp de focus où l'on vit, fût-ce d'une vie qui n'est pas une vie. Son recognition à tout rfile nouveau et son extrême discernement le conduisent à intégrer un extrait du témoignage de Primo Levi, passé inaperçu, et à citer, comme representation de los angeles barbarie, le plaidoyer du médecin SS d'Auschwitz, Hans Münch, qui ne sera condamné par los angeles justice française qu'en 2000.
Lecteurs, nous privilégions désormais le neuf qui n'est bien souvent que los angeles redécouverte de l'ancien. Or en histoire il est des 'classiques' que l'on gagne à relire périodiquement. Celui-ci est du nombre.

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Rosenbloom introduces me to the two other officers on the Team. The supply-mess officer is Lieutenant William L. Howcroft of Steubenville, Ohio. Slender and blond, he wears fragile silver-rimmed eyeglasses over his light blue eyes. He, too, is naturally reticent, except when he displays his outstanding collection of four-letter words, an admirable asset for anyone responsible for military requisitions and vouchers. Howcroft has completed one year of engineering at Ohio University and believes that he is too old to return to school after the war-he IS 2 I.

Perh~ps I should tell my classmate from Iowa about them, that they were neither better nor worse than his mother or father, but I do not think he will believe me. I hope I do not have to work with him, or with others like him: people concerned only with their own problems. I prefer my comrades at the collecting company, who, despite their griping, feel as I do, that there is an important job to be done. I reflect that I was one of those on the long, cold line that gray December day following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but orders did not arrive until 1943, after I completed an internship.

One of the administrative officers has a mug he has been saving for this occasion, made of white porcelain and embossed with a picture of the imperial German eagle, its wings outstretched, gazing fixedly at powerful dragon's teeth. " We pass the mug around and toast the crumbling wall. March 28 is a dismal, cloudy day as the company crosses the Rhine on a pontoon bridge near Mannheim. This badly demolished city consists only of barren, crumbling walls and littered foundations, a depressing sight.

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