This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Published in Poland after World War II, this collection of concentration camp stories shows atrocious crimes becoming an unremarkable part of a daily routine. Prisoners eat, work, sleep, and fall in love a few yards from where other prisoners are systematically slaughtered. The will to survive overrides compassion, and the line between the normal and the abnormal wavers, then vanishes. Borowski, a concentration camp victim himself, understood what human beings will do to endure the unendurable. Together, these stories constitute not only a masterpiece of Polish - and world - literature but stand as cruel testimony to the level of inhumanity of which man is capable.
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I first read this book some 40+ years ago while at University. Although horrorific, I make a point of reading it every couple of years. It is more important to me than reading the Gospels. It teaches me what it means, and how to be, a man.