One of the great strengths of Laurence Rees’ new work on the Holocaust, according to reviewers, is the powerful eyewitness testimony that the book contains.
In this lecture, Rees discusses four people that he met personally, carefully chosen out of the hundreds of interviews conducted for his various television series on the Nazis and the Holocaust over the last twenty-five years. Each of these four people offers a different perspective on the Holocaust.
Two of them suffered at the hands of the Nazis. One as a Polish political prisoner in Auschwitz, and the other as a Jewish Sonderkommando in the death camp of Sobibor. The remaining two interviewees were perpetrators – and both were convicted of war crimes after the conflict ended. One is a former SS man who worked in Auschwitz, and the other a Lithuanian who murdered Jews at the behest of the Nazis.
Rees focuses on what these four individuals can tell us, about not just the nature of this terrible crime, but the human condition itself.