“Auschwitz. Monograph of the Human” is the first attempt – on a global scale – to delve so deeply into human emotions inside the camp. It is a must-read for those seeking to understand what Auschwitz was all about.
The book is divided into more than thirty chapters, each devoted to a separate subject. They include, among others, “Initial Shock,” “Loneliness,” “Death,” “Hunger,” “Friendship,” “Empathy,” “Decency,” “Struggle and Resistance,” “Culture and learning,” “Fear,” and “Hope.” One great asset of the book is the extremely aptly chosen quotations from nearly 450 Auschwitz survivors.
Each chapter of the book can be treated as an independent analysis of a single issue. However, it is only when read as a whole does it provide an overview of the complicated emotional world of people uprooted from their daily lives and thrown into a world that one of the prisoners called the heart of hell.
In the last chapter of the book “Auschwitz. A Monograph on the Human” entitled “Conclusions”, Piotr Cywiński wrote: “I hope that my attempt to restore the perspective about which the survivors had spoken, which we were unable to sufficiently comprehend, will fulfil my obligation to their words, memories and warnings, and with regard to them specifically. I also hope that it will serve as a proposal for a new approach in the historiography of concentration camps and extermination camps, as well as perhaps other studies of genocides—so that human experiences, studied in the polyphony of voices of memory become the focal point of research. We owe it not to the survivors, but to ourselves. And to future generations. This experience was too important, too severe and too deadly to be expressed exclusively in numbers, dates and facts. Analyses should focus on more important, far more important issues than strictly factual findings.”