At 880 pages, KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps is a monumental achievement. The KL (short for Konzentrationslager or Concentration Place) dated back to the early days of the Nazi regime, when enemies of the Reich were sent to Dachau for "preventive custody" under the brutal supervision of Himmler's SS (short for Schutzstaffel or Protection Squad). New camps and new enemies were added over time: Communists, Socialists, homosexuals, Gypsies, habitual criminals, the mentally and physically handicapped, clergymen, Jews. The camps became murderous with the onset of war, with the establishment of the most notorious of all KL, near Warsaw. The first victims of mass murder in Auschwitz were Red Army prisoners -- the first to be tattoed with numbers, the first to be gassed -- but European Jews soon surpassed them. And all along, the KL were supposed to contribute to the German economy, and especially to war production, but the SS never managed to square that particular circle: how could starving, brutalized prisoners become productive workers?
Also reviewed this month on the Warbird's Book Club are Double Ace: The Life of Robert Lee Scott Jr., Pilot, Hero, and Teller of Tall Tales, a great title but somewhat belied by the contents; and Night School, the latest (22nd, by my count) Jack Reacher novel by the inventive Englishman who goes by the name of Lee Child.... Oh well, never mind! What I liked most about it was the coda at the end, where Mr Child writes: Dedicated with great appreciation to the men and women around the world who do this stuff for real. Blue skies! — Dan Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted January 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.