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The Auschwitz Photographer

Author: Maurizio Onnis & Luca Crippa

Started: Sep. 17, 2021

Finished: Sep. 20, 2021

Wilhelm Brasse spent five years in Auschwitz and during those years he photographed over 50,000 prisoners. He was originally arrested and sent to the concentration camp for refusing to join the German army. While there he is put to work in the Identification Office where he takes photographs of all incoming prisoners for Nazi records. In time, as word of his talent travels the camp, he is required to take photos for camp officers. He is eventually summoned to take photos for camp doctors, including Dr. Joseph Mengle, and sees the atrocities his experiments actually were. Brasse saves thousands of photos when Auschwitz is liberated.

I had never heard of Wilhelm Brasse and was unaware that prisoners at Auschwitz were given positions such as photographers. I found the book interesting although there were some scenes that I felt were a little out of the norm for historical fiction. There were several descriptions of Mengle's "experiments" that I physically recoiled from. I do understand that these were events that happened but I felt they could have been handled differently. I also did not understand the abrupt ending to the story and do not understand why the authors would choose to end Wilhelm Brasse's story in such an odd way.

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