Last Stop Auschwitz: My Story of Survival from Within the Camp

Grand Central. Jan. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781538701430. $28. BIOG
In 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands, de Wind was a young doctor studying to be a psychotherapist. In 1943, his mother was placed in the transit camp Westerbork, and de Wind agreed to work there in exchange for the promise that his mother wouldn’t be relocated to a concentration camp—but when he arrived there, she was gone. He married a nurse, Friedel, and a year later they were transferred to Auschwitz. Even though de Wind served as camp doctor, Friedel still became one of the victims of Josef Mengele’s experiments. When the author found Friedel later, her physical and emotional pain led to a shift in their marriage, which never recovered. However, while de Wind was in Auschwitz, he kept a journal about a fictitious doctor named “Hans” with a wife named “Friedel,” bequeathing to us a record, straightforward and devastating, of how one survives the unimaginable. After the war, de Wind became one of the first mental health professionals to treat and write about the form of PTSD called concentration camp syndrome.
VERDICT This unique contribution to the literature of the Holocaust will prove invaluable to all readers interested in recollections and histories of the period.
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