Mary Fulbrook - A Small Town Near Auschwitz. PDF

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The question of how people could just stand by and let something happen is always taken up in history. How much did the average German know about what occurred during the Holocaust?How much did the mayors and the other civilians administers know?How much of what they said after the war was truth and how much an editing of the past either so they can live their life or avoid imprisonment?Mary Fulbrook’s godmother was the wife of Udo Klausa who was an administer for the part of the Poland that included Auschwitz.Udo Klausa and his wife, Alexandra, lived in a town near the camp, a town that had a Jewish population, including a Jewish gardener who worked for the Klausas.

Fulbrook’s mother, who had left Germany with the rise of the Nazis, was able to reconnect with Alexandra Klausa after the war.The book opens and closes with Fulbrook looking at the relationship with the two women.This frame is important to the topic of the book, for not only does the friendship provide the impetus for Fulbrook to write the book, but it also represents in a small way the theme and idea of the book.

Fulbrook wants to discover what the Klausa would’ve known about what happened.At the same time, she also examines what the Polish and Jewish residents were being subjected to.At time the juxtaposition makes for strange reading.Alexandra Klausa comments on the bad state of her garden because the gardener is gone.He is gone because he was deported, his family killed.Alexandra Klausa comments on how quickly and cheaply she is able to furnish her house with furniture seized from Jewish families.

Fulbrook reads the Klausa family letters closely.While she is attempting to understand or discover, she doesn’t let it blind her.When Klausa seems to be less than truthful, Fulbrook points it out, using official documents to show where exactly Klausa was when something like the killing of 32 innocent people occurred.She weighs and examines Klausa’s story of trying to save his Jewish gardener.But, she also takes care to point out when the family might be keeping something hidden.Why, for instance, was Klausa so sick?

A book like this is important because of what it shows.Fulbrook is able to showcase exactly what an administrator would’ve known during the Second World War.More importantly, she shows side by side the experiences of both conqueror and victim.This is important because to disregard one half of the equation, the Nazis, gives and incomplete picture.What Fulbrook has done, and done brilliantly, is present a complete general picture of not only how something happened but what the effects of the event were on everyone involved.The book isn’t easy reading for Fulbrook doesn’t pull any punches, but it is a must read because of the picture that is given.It promotes discussion and adds levels of understanding.Any student of World War II or history should read this book.

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