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Nikolaus Wachsmann, “KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps” (FSG, 2015)

By Marshall Poe

Today’s podcast is the second in our summer series of interviews about the concentration camps in and around Nazi Germany. Earlier this summer I talked with Geoff Megargee about the US Holocaust Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos and Sarah Helm about her book on Ravensbruc. Later, I’ll talk with Dan Stone and Shelly Cline. Today I had the great pleasure to chat with Nikolaus Wachsmann about his new book titled KL:A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015).Nik began his career interested in justice and prisons in Nazi Germany. Having published a book on that subject, he made the natural jump to the concentration camp system. After pushing the research further as editor of three compilations of essays, he has now published a comprehensive survey of the camp system.The book is tremendous: a well-conceived mixture of institutional history, narrative storytelling and careful analysis. It’s not always easy to read–I read it on my Kindle as I led students across Europe and occasionally found myself putting the Kindle down and staring out the window for several minutes as I contemplated the pain his subjects had endured. But it’s a wonderful treatment of a complicated subject. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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