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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Auschwitz by Pascal Croci

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (website)
Publication Year: 2004
ISBN: 0810948311
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 88
Author Website: None Found
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I stumbled across Auschwitz by Pascal Croci when I was looking for the next volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series at my local library. I picked this up because I thought that the graphic novel format was a different way to approach the story of the Holocaust. I found this book to be a confusing narrative, it starts in 1993 Czechoslovakia with two holocaust survivors (a husband & wife) hiding out in a bomb torn building. Its there that they each tell their story of their experiences while imprisoned in Auschwitz so many years before. What follows are two graphic stories with some impressive gray scale drawings. There is no doubt that Croci is a talented artist although there were a few instances in which I had trouble trying to determine who was who as the faces all looked fairly similar. In some instances this similarity might be a highly negative comment. However, when faced with the fact that that many of the prisoners where near death from overwork and starvation this similarity becomes a poignant testament to the horrors of war. Based on my real life travels to Auschwitz I found his deceptions of the place to be pretty true to life.

So if there is much that I like about this book you might wonder at my 2 star rating. Well I shall explain. The 2 stories told seemed a bit rushed, especially when mixed interwoven with stories of other people in the camp. It made for a disjointed tale that didn’t flow. This book was also only 88 pages….most of those pages were used by the author to explain about his book – the research and the reason why. I think that those pages could have been better spent in fleshing out the story of the two main characters a bit more. And finally, some of the drawings were just too graphic! This is a book that I found in the Young Adult section of my library and there where images of mass graves filled with naked bodies. I know this was a big aspect of the war but is it something that needs to be shown to teens? These drawings were so detailed and life like that they were hard for me, a full fledged adult, to look at. I can only imagine what a much younger person would think while looking at them.

Finally, here is an example of the artwork found in this book:

(image from Cassio, click to embiggen)

Challenge Summary:
Book 16 for my 75 Book Challenge
Book 2 out of 5 for my WWII Reading Challenge
Book 2 out of 5 for my WWII books 999 Challenge
Book 7 out of 12 for my Support Your Local Library Challenge

2 Responses to “Auschwitz by Pascal Croci”

  1. Anna

    Sounds interesting, but I agree that the drawings might be a bit much for the YA crowd. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, I might check this one out. Thanks for the great review. We posted an excerpt here at War Through the Generations.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. Anonymous

    Hi, Just like to input, I’m a young adult, (Currently using the novel for an English assessment task in my final year of secondary education) and I agree that the book is graphic, however one of my Polish friends (who is very emotional about the holocaust) suggested it to me to relate to one of my other texts.
    Also, taking into consideration the violent video games teenagers play these days, they would kind of be anesthetized from the graphic imagery, wouldn’t you think?

    I do agree with your rating and review on the book however. Great work.

    ~ Caitlin