DELIVERANCE DAY: The Last Hours at Dachau by Michael Selzer

DELIVERANCE DAY: The Last Hours at Dachau

Email this review


Established in March 1933, the concentration camp at Dachau was smaller than other camps, such as Auschwitz, and Jews were usually only a minority of its prison population which included foreign dignitaries, spies, soldiers, partisans, and traitors. Yet, because it was the first such camp set up by the Nazis, Dachau has a certain extra importance in the annals of Nazi atrocity, an importance that led Michael Seizer to select it as the subject for this account of the last hours before the camp was liberated. In addition, Seizer hopes ""to counteract the notion that the camps, as such, were a distinctively Jewish tragedy"" and to recall ""the role of the United States armed forces as the world's principle defense against tyranny and inhumanity."" Selzer's story is semi-historical in the sense that he has freely reworked the facts and impressions gathered in numerous interviews with former inmates, guards, and soldiers into a novelistic treatment. And perhaps precisely because the main characters, whether personages or simple people, are composites, their feelings as they move against the grimly surrealistic background of a crumpling concentration camp are depicted with an effective immediacy. Seizer, who is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College, has captured successfully the drama of liberation, and as a result his work is quite moving. Its only problem, if it can be labeled as such, is that in the end it merely repeats the litany of horror and human heroism we have all come to know.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Lippincott