THE CONVENT AT AUSCHWITZ by Wladyslaw T. Bartoszewski


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 A well-documented, thought-provoking study of the international and interreligious brouhaha over the convent of Carmelite nuns at Auschwitz. The Polish-born and Cambridge-educated scholar Bartoszewski (Modern European History/Warwick Univ.) brings the impartiality of a social anthropologist to a controversy that is fraught with passion, bias, and irreconcilable theological differences. In 1984, Carmelite nuns moved into a vacant building in Osweiecem, Poland, to devote themselves to prayer near the martyrdom site of thousands of Poles, political prisoners and the ``saved'' soul of Sister Benedictina of the Cross. Many Jews saw the identical event differently: as Christians invading a zyclon B storehouse at Auschwitz to insult the memory of the hundreds of thousands of murdered Jews, including the ``lost'' soul of Edith Stein. Bartoszewski presents a thorough, chronological rundown of the many charges and countercharges, as well as of the confrontational and conciliatory gestures by the B'nai B'rith, the Vatican, Cardinals Glemp (Poland) and O'Connor (US), and Rabbis Weiss (US) and Sirat (France). Analytical insights to complement the research include the effects on the crisis of the Polish Communist government and the Claude Lanzmann film Shoah. Bartoszewski significantly records not just the details and quotations flung from one camp to the other, but he writes more deeply of ``Jews and Poles [struggling] to preserve conflicting and essential views of history grounded in the same place.''

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-8076-1267-7
Page count: 169pp
Publisher: Braziller
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991


NonfictionTHE PHARMACIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Patricia Posner
by Patricia Posner