Upon reading survivors’ accounts of life in ghettos, slave-labor camps, and even killing camps, one wonders how any survived. Depending on the religiosity of the testifier, they attribute either it to a miracle, to God’s intervention, to luck, to a particular person who helped them to survive, or other survival strategies. Drawing on the testimony of survivors of the Stratachowice slave labor camps in Poland, Browning describes many of these strategies. In the end, Browning agrees that those who survived often had the ties of family and neighbors to sustain and help them; those who did not usually perished. Browning also discusses the fact that despite the incriminating eyewitness testimony of survivors, many of the perpetrators are acquitted. As if to reiterate that fact, the lawyer for Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk asserted that his Ukrainian client (an accessory to the murder of 29,700 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland in 1943) should not be held accountable for following the orders of higher-ups in Germany, many of whom escaped punishment. Illustrations, notes, photos.
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.