An unpretentious, undemanding action memoir by a French Jew, a boxer by trade, who was apprehended by the Nazis in 1942 in...

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HANGED AT AUSCHWITZ

An unpretentious, undemanding action memoir by a French Jew, a boxer by trade, who was apprehended by the Nazis in 1942 in connection with his Resistance work and was subsequently confined in Drancy, the Paris way station to the ovens, then shipped to Auschwitz where for two years he was beaten, was worked literally to the protruding bone, was tortured, experienced the mass horror and filth that the place-name Auschwitz has come to represent, tried to escape, was sentenced to be hanged, but gratitiously -- miraculously -- was spared by his German executioner, also a boxer. Whereupon he used a dead man's serial number until liberation in 1945. The tale moves very fast, has no reflective qualities to recommend it (Kessel's only acknowledged purpose in retreading ""what is by now such familiar territory"" is to keep the specter of Auschwitz alive, a memory which is ""tending to fade away""), and only rarely rises above self-centered pathos. There is of course a readership -- and justifiably so -- for this sort of firsthand account; but what is more important -- accountability -- is what must be reckoned with by survivors, by all of us.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Stein & Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972