Cohen was an ordinary and ambitious doctor with a family, a Dutch Jew who -- even under the threat of Nazi persecution --...

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THE ABYSS: A Confession

Cohen was an ordinary and ambitious doctor with a family, a Dutch Jew who -- even under the threat of Nazi persecution -- did not want to immigrate to Palestine or convert, early possibilities. The Cohens endured the German occupation as long as possible; attempting to escape to Sweden they were betrayed, caught, sent to a concentration camp--the first of several. As a doctor Cohen had certain privileges which he used to protect himself and his loved ones when he could; he had dread responsibilities -- certifying the health of persons sent to the gas chambers, killing lunatics with insulin shots -- and after refusing once, he decided to meet his obligations ""honestly."" Hannah Arendt has accused the Jews of doing the Germans' dirty work and Cohen accepts the burden -- ""I definitely wasn't extra mean but -- and this probably applies to everyone who came out of the concentration camps alive -- I'm tarred."" A picture that's not pretty but simply drawn, graphic, unretouched.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973