Tag Archives: Auschwitz

Before Auschwitz


Before Auschwitz –
Jewish Prisoners In The Prewar Concentration Camps
By Kim Wunschmann
Harvard University Press – £33.95

So tomorrow, January 20th, we have President (elect) Donald Trump to look forward to.

He, whose parents were members of America’s Klu Klux Klan organisation, will enter what has to be the most powerful office in the world. An ever increasing, wayward world might I add, in which tyrants and terrorists, deprivation and division, continue to make headlines; while those who kneel at the alter of hedge-fund hypocrisy, continue to succeed in keeping it that way.

It’s as if the populace of the so-called intelligent species, has learnt absolutely nothing.

Nic that is, other than:
a) wholeheartedly know how to turn away when someone else is in need (as in the cold, blooded murder of the MP, Jo Cox – who, as she lay on the ground being to stabbed to death, hordes of people did absolutely nothing because they far were too busy filming her murder on their mobile phones)
b) wholeheartedly embrace the dictum: what’s in it for me?

Just two exceedingly valid reasons why people need to at least be made aware of January 27th, Holocaust Memorial Day, to comprehend an iota of where blatant ignorance can lead. In a word, Trump., in anther word., ISIS., in another (chilling yet infamous) word, Auschwitz.

The world would indeed be wise to take note of Before Auschwitz – Jewish Prisoners In The Prewar Concentration Camps, which pioneers the formulaic and prerequisite ideological stance of nationally condoned suffering, barbarity and murder.

The book’s six chapters, Introduction and Conclusion, compellingly unearths the little-known origins of the concentration camp system in the years leading up to the Second World War, and reveals the instrumental role of these extralegal detention centres in the development of Nazi policies towards Jews (and its eventual plans to create a racially pure Third Reich): ”First of all, a historical study of the imprisonment of Jews before 1939 demands an understanding of the period in its own right. The concentration camps of the pre-war era were different from the wartime camps. They had different forms and different functions. Simply to place them into a seemingly linear development of Nazi anti-Jewish policy […] would miss the particularity of the pre-war period. The development that ultimately culminated in genocide on an unprecedented scale was neither preordained nor the direct result of a single man’s long-standing fantasies. Karl Schleunes’s concept of ”the twisted road to Auschwitz” is more apposite, helping us to grasp a process of gradual development in response to outside influences and internal power rivalries, a process that, at each stage, might have pointed to a different destination.”

A different destination indeed, which, from the relative comfort of hindsight, is all too easy say, come to terms with, and ultimately assimilate. But these 235 pages (not including Appendix: SS Ranks and U.S. Army Equivalents, Abbreviations, Notes, Bibliography, Acknowledgements and Index) really ought to shunt hindsight unto the Rose Garden of The White House – for all the world’s media to witness on a regular basis.

If not the Oval Office itself, although, knowing Trump, he’d probably deny the fact that The Holocaust ever took place.

In investigating more than a dozen camps, from Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen to less familiar sites, authoress Kim Wunschmann uncovers a process of terror designed to identify and isolate German Jews, primarily from 1933 to 1939. During this period, shocking accounts of camp life filtered through to the German population, sending the preposterous message that Jews were different from true Germans: they were portrayed as dangerous to associate with and fair game for barbaric acts of intimidation and violence.

The latter of which is rather like Brexit’s reaction to non-Englanders, only on a far bigger, far more criminal level. But hey, it’s still early days.
And tomorrow we have Trump, to look forward to.

As Robert Gellately, author of Stalin’s Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War has written, Before Auschwitz is ”an impressive, well-written study of a little-known chapter in the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Wunschmann has carried out prodigious archival research, unearthing all kinds of interesting and troubling material, particularly on the fate of Jewish citizens who were sent to the camps without trial and held without rights in what the police euphemistically called ‘protective custody.’ Her book will certainly find a wide readership.”

Here’s hoping it will, because it’s outwardly brave, memorably brazen and overtly bodacious.

David Marx


The Final Solution


The Final Solution –
The Fate of the Jews 1933 – 49
By David Cesarani
Macmillan – £30.00

This book grew out of a concern about the discord between, on the one side, evocations of The Holocaust in popular culture, education and its commemoration and, on the other, the revelations by researchers in many disciplines, operating within and outside an academic framework.

Greed not anti-Semitism motivated many people to align themselves with the German occupiers. Jew-hatred became as much a justification for despoliation as a motive.

[…] what survivors offer is a wonderful example of how youthful traumas can be overcome. They show how it is possible to rebuild in one generation what was mercilessly destroyed in the previous one. Inspiring testimony such as this inevitably carries a redemptive message. No matter how unpleasant or unvarnished the content, the age of the speaker, and the courage they show in recalling horrendous times bestows on them a heroic aura. They are envoys from a fearful distant past, bearing a message of hope – that survival and recuperation is possible whatever the odds against them.

The above quotations come from both the Introduction and the Prologue of what is a rather beautiful book.

Now I’m well aware that the word beautiful might be an odd word used to describe such an intrinsically harrowing subject as The Final Solution – but what I mean is: beautiful in the complexity of its extensive research. A research unquestionably brazen yet brave, redemptive yet regal.

All at the same time. From beginning to end.

Indeed, the nigh accepted narrative of humanity’s darkest hour, has – regardless of the trajectory of every telling, of every trauma – yet to be fully understood and perhaps diagnosed as having been understood. In and of itself, this might be deemed a subliminally good thing. A good thing in as much as: would it be wise to fully comprehend the reasoning behind the tragedy of The Holocaust?

To honour the Holocaust and it’s millions of unfortunate victims, is one thing. To analyse the varying mindset(s) of the vile, human machinery behind it, really is quite another. Another, as in a certain psychology or place, I personally don’t want to understand, nor embrace, nor inherit, nor have anything to do with.

After all: ”in 1947 the British were holding more Jews behind barbed wire than the Germans had been in 1937.” While a mere few weeks off 2017, the despicable Islamist movement, Hamas, still crave to annihilate the State of Israel from that of the face of the earth. This is why David Cesarani’s ”sweeping reappraisal challenges accepted explanations for the anti-Jewish politics of Nazi Germany and the inevitability of the ‘Final Solution.”’ Although what accounts for The Final Solution – The Fate of the Jews 1933 – 49 being such an intelligent and really important read, is the vastness of political, historical and essentially German social terrain, it covers.

In essence, no stone is left un-turned and it is this quintessential quality which accounts for the book’s seismic shift of historical, and to a certain degree, Third-Reich-theological parameters of persuasion: ”Hitler’s route to power was paved by idealism, the desire for strong communities, and love of Germany. For some Germans anti-Semitism helped to define the nation and the community, with Jews embodying everything that was false, corrupt, alien and wrong. But Hitler was not made Chancellor of Germany because of anti-Semitism” (Prologue).

Internationally recognised as one of this generation’s leading Jewish and Holocaust scholars, Cesarani has herein written a book that is simply outstanding in its seemingly endless scope of portrayal. For instance, he disputes the iconic role of railways, deportation trains and even that of Auschwitz itself, and reveals that plunder was more a cause of anti-Jewish feeling than a consequence of it.

No-where was such a cacophonous calamity of all these disputes on display than during the initial outbreak of the war in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland – literally high on hate. The all-consuming, barbaric consequences of which, Cesarani adroitly addresses in the book’s fourth chapter, ‘War – 1939-1941’: ”The army that prepared to invade Poland was primed to blame the Jews for causing war in the first place. It was imbued with animosity towards Jews, with a particular asperity reserved for the Ostjuden or eastern Jews who had featured so largely in pre-war hate literature. In the figure of the Ostjude anti-Jewish prejudice melded with anti-Polish prejudice. Young Germans had been filled with a spirit of revenge against the Poles who allegedly oppressed their countrymen in the lands taken away in 1918-19. Youths were taught to despise Polish society for its mediocre living standards and supposed cultural backwardness. This was a poisonous combination that lent itself to brutality even before the fighting men had experienced the shock of combat and the loss of comrades […]. The invasion of Poland was not going to be an ordinary military campaign, either. In a clandestine briefing of the senior military leadership at Berchtesgaden on 22 August, Hitler had summed up the goal as ‘Annihilation of Poland.”

Amid the calculated cloak of such ravenous German mendacity, the above almost speaks for itself; but from a sheer writing perspective, said chapter, along with The Final Solution as a whole, is profoundly authoritative.

An alarmingly trust-worthy read, although occasionally disturbing, this book remains undeniably focused in its complexity and fortitude. Each of its 796 pages (excluding Maps, List of Illustrations, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Glossary, Bibliography, Notes and Index) remain unsurprisingly resolute in telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the (soul destroying) truth.

Is it any wonder David Cesarani, who died in 2015, was awarded an OBE for his work in the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK – while serving on the country’s delegation to the International Task Force for Holocaust Remembrance, Education and Research?

If it were to be recommended that all those who voted for President Elect, Donald Trump, were to read just one book, then this should be it.

David Marx

Representing Auschwitz


Representing Auschwitz
At the Margins of Testimony
Edited by Nicholas Chare and Dominic Williams
Palgrave Macmillan – £58.00

Purgatory is represented by the Soviet Union’s labour camps, where neglect is combined with chaotic forced labour. Hell in the most literal sense was embodied by those types of camp perfected by the Nazis, in which the whole of life was thoroughly and systematically organized with a view to the greatest possible torment.

(Nikolaus Wachsmann, The Nazi Concentration Camps in International Context: Comparisons and Connections, Palgrave Macmillan).

Having recently watched the outstanding Hungarian epic, Son Of Saul (directed by Laszlo Nemes), which has since been nominated for countless awards – including Best Foreign Language Film 2016 – I was in a position, if only for a mini-micro second, to read this book with an iota of up to date sound and vision. Both aspects of which – for all their colourful, grainy, shouting-celluloid-hell of a living/breathing, Hieronymous Boschesque depiction of the end of the world – gave an inkling of understanding as to what it must have been like.

To have experienced the utterly incomprehensible, cruel degradation of a Nazi concentration camp.

And there is no better example of said incomprehension than Auschwitz. A two word syllable, whose international trajectory, continues to represent everything that was, and still is wrong with humanity. A diabolical syntheses of which is most coherently as well as magnificently touched upon throughout this outstanding book.

To be sure, Representing Auschwitz – At the Margins of Testimony addresses the aforesaid incomprehension of the Nazi regime in the Introduction, where the two editors Nicholas Chare and Dominic Williams immediately write: ”The boundary necessary for comprehension, or claiming, of the Holocaust experience, the scission between within and without, can only be instituted belatedly. It is necessary to establish a gap between within and without in the psyche of the individual survivor in order to mend the ‘the historical gap which the event created in the collective witnessing.”’

Upon reading the above, I am inclined to ask if such a mode of considered behaviour is even possible?

How can we, almost seventy-five years after the very implementation of the Final Solution, penetrate the ‘psyche of the individual survivor?’ Other than trying to come to some sort of terms with Holocaust literature and such brave, uncompromising film-making as Son Of Saul, all we can (fortunately) hope for, at best, is an inkling of empathy; which explains why these ten superlative essays are so very, very important.

As Professor Robert Eaglestone of the Royal Holloway, University of London states: ”This outstanding book has essays from not only the leading academics in the field (including perhaps the most important philosopher of history of our time, Hayden White) but also from leading writers in this area (Anne Karpf, Eva Hoffman). Each essay is a fantastic resource, tightly argued, full of revelation and information. More, the book is a model of interdisciplinary work, combining history, literary studies, film, gender theory, art and philosophy. It is also a timely and vital intervention in the development of Holocaust Studies.”

Indeed, all the essays in this book are as vital as each other.

Be it Dan Stone’s ‘The Harmony of Barbarism: Locating the Scrolls of Auschwitz in Holocaust Historiography,’ Sue Vice’s ‘Representing the Einsatzgruppen: The Outtakes of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, Griselda Pollock’s ‘Art as Transport-Station of Trauma? Haunting Objects in the Works of Bracha Ettinger, Sarah Kofman and Chantal Akerman’ or Dominic Williams’ ‘The Dead Are My Teachers’: The Scrolls of Auschwitz in Jerome Rothenberg’s Khurbn.

The latter of which, perhaps in relation to having watched Nemes’ powerful depiction of the Sonderkommando, resonates all the more poignantly. Under the sub-heading ‘The Scrolls of Auschwitz, Williams’ quotes from a three-page narrative, written by Leib Langfuss, which accounts for part of Jerome Rothenberg’s Khurbn. It essentially ”tells the story of the last hours of 3,000 women dumped in the grounds of Crematorium 2 after being imprisoned and starved for a week […]. The words Rothenberg quotes are part of one girl’s reaction to a member of the Sonderkommando bursting into tears.

They examined our faces looking for an expression of sympathy. One stood in a corner and looked deep into the depths of these poor helpless souls. He could no longer control himself and burst out crying. A young girl then said ‘Ah! I have been privileged to see before I die an expression of sorrow, a tear of sympathy at our sad fate, in this camp of murderers, in which so many are tortured, beaten and killed, in which people see so many murders and interminable horrors, in the camp where our senses become dull and petrified at the sight of the worst horrors, where every human emotion dies to the extent that you can see your brother or sister fall and not even sigh. Yes, here, can there be a man who will feel our disaster who will weep for our fate? Oh! What a wonderful vision, how unnatural! The tear of a live Jew will go with me to my death, the sight of a sensitive man. There is still someone who will mourn us, [and I] had thought that we could leave this world like miserable orphans. I find a bit of comfort in this young man; among people who are all murderers and criminals, I have found before my death a man with feelings.”’

That a young girl’s fate has evolved into taking such (pathetic) comfort, does, in and of itself, depict a time in history where shame is too kind a word. Where redemption doesn’t even come into play. That any warmth, let alone description of feeling within the actual writing has clearly been nigh annihilated, speaks volumes. Again, more than substantiates why Representing Auschwitz – At the Margins of Testimony is such an unquestionably valuable book.

With the recent cease-fire in Aleppo having once again, come to absolutely nothing, perhaps publications such as this are all that we fundamentally have left – to remind us of our own unspeakable, yet nevertheless repeatable, folly.

David Marx

This Place Holds No Fear


This Place Holds No Fear
By Monika Held
Haus Publishing – £14.99

          ‘You can walk on the dead and don’t even notice.’

It’s already been over a week since National Holocaust Day (January 27th), yet still the inexorable barbarity continues in Syria. Unabated and fundamentally unchallenged, the pointless savagery goes on: day after day, week after week, year after year.

And for what? Glory? Land? Religion? Geographical redemption?

Are those responsible for all the suffering, killing and pointless destruction, actually aware of this grotesque thing we (flippantly) refer to as the Holocaust? If they were, would they not, even if just for a mini-micro-second, realise the total moral redundancy of their atrocious ambition(s)?

So far as both the annihilation and the deprivation of humanity is concerned, what better template is there to acknowledge or refer to than the Holocaust? An undecipherable time in European history, which will surely continue to resonate with an abundance of shock, horror and pathos, long after those who had the misfortune to live through it, have died.

Which is why a book such as this is so very, very important.

This Place Holds No Fear is a poignant, pertinent reminder, of what can happen to society when all the wrong people come into power (which for some unbeknown reason reaon, they always invariably do).

With it’s rather austere, sombre cover, these 277 pages pronounce that which should never have to be pronounced: ”Casually, as if discussing the weather, he said: In Birkenau, when you walk from the women’s camp to Crematorium II, you see a small path – nothing special. People don’t notice, he said, when it crunches under their feet. Little stones, they think – gravel, sand. But what’s really crunching underfoot are the remains of people who’ve been burned […]. The rough pieces are tiny bits of bone. Each from a different person. The paths there are covered with the bits of bone that trickled off the truck. In Birkenau pools and tarns are filled with this stuff. The lane that leads into the camp is white. You can walk on the dead and don’t even notice.”

Subtle, at times heartbreaking, yet totally engrossing, this book is written in such a way that one cannot help but be transported back to a time when the difference between life and death was so hopelessly fragile, it really doesn’t bear worth thinking about.

As authoress Monika Held reminds us: ”Nothing can bridge the gap between your imagination and our experiences.”

Moreover, one of the most powerful pieces of writing is the description of Vienna feeling ”like a bubbling cauldron;” where Held quotes from Carl Zuckmeyer’s memoirs depicting March 11, 1938: ”That night hell broke loose. The underworld opened its gates and vomited forth the lowest, filthiest, most horrible demons it contained. The city was transformed into a nightmare painting by Hieronymous Bosch; phantoms and devils seemed to have crawled out of sewers and swamps. The air was filled with an incessant screeching, horrible, piercing, hysterical cries from the throats of men and women who continued screaming day and night. People’s faces vanished, were replaced by contorted masks: some of fear, some of cunning, some of wild, hate-filled triumph. I saw the early period of Nazi rule in Berlin. But none of this was comparable to those days in Vienna…What was unleashed upon Vienna was a torrent of envy, jealousy, bitterness, blind, malignant craving for revenge. All better instincts were silenced. Here only the torpid masses had been unchained. Their blind destructiveness and hatred were directed against everything that nature or intelligence had refined. It was a witches’ Sabbath of the mob. All that makes for human dignity was buried.”

The above does indeed read like a literary rendition of one or several of Bosch’s paintings; where a mob-like-mentality has taken over (the political asylum). Much like it has in certain parts of current day Ukraine. Or throughout all of Syria.

There is so much to be gleaned from this very brave, worthy and most eye-opening of books. Even if just from that of a philosophical persuasion: ”Every man knows that he is born to die, yet we all forget, and squander our time on earth. Death is my shadow, it accompanies me like a mild headache. It’s there to say: Do not forget that each moment is precious.”

David Marx

Hanns and Rudolf


Hanns and Rudolf – The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz
By Thomas Harding
William Heinemann – £20.00

To call this book mesmerizing might be a little far fetched, but it’s one of the most readable and un-put-down-able books I’ve read in a long time. Like John Le Carre has written on the front cover of Hanns and Rudolf – The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz: ”A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history.”

I absolutely couldn’t agree more.

The book does read like a thriller, the crime(s) herein are not only ”unspeakable,” but unfortunately very real, and its seventeen chapters are indeed, an essential overview of relatively recent (European) history.

In brief, during the terrible aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down an array of seemingly soulless, despicable, senior Nazi dirt-bags, who were responsible for having surely committed the worst crime/stain on humanity ever. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is at the vanguard of the investigations; Rudolf Hoss is his most sought after, yet all elusive target.

So within these 287 pages, what we get is a very readable account of Germany during the politically tempestuous thirties, and a very gritty/sickening account of The Final Solution. This is particularly brought to bear in Chapter Nine (‘Rudolf – Oswiecim, Upper Silesia 1942’) where author Thomas Harding writes: ”The first trainload of Jews to be transported to Auschwitz arrived in the spring of 1942. Tired and disorientated by their journey, these men, women and children were taken off the train in Birkenau, where those judged able to work were led away, and the rest were marched six hundred yards to one of the small farmhouses at the back of the camp. Here they were told to undress behind especially erected screens, all the while unaware of the fate that awaited them. On one of the farmhouse doors had been written the words ‘Disinfection Room,’ and towards this the guards directed the prisoners, telling them, with the assistance of interpreters, that they should remember where they had stowed their luggage so that they could locate it after they had been deloused. Now naked, the prisoners were ushered into the disinfection room, two or three hundred at a time, before the doors were screwed tight. Then guards on the roof dropped two canisters of granulated Zyklon B into the room below. After ten minutes all the prisoners were dead.”

Some may have taken umbrage at my earlier description of senior Nazi officials as seemingly soulless, despicable dirt-bags.’ But to my mind, there are no words that can accurately describe those who were even in the slightest, responsible for such actions as that depicted above.

Perhaps someone can offer a better description?

As for an objective evaluation of the Auschwitz Kommandant, Rudolf Hoss, one needs to take account of what Harding later writes in the very same chapter: ”As the summer of 1943 came to a close, Rudolf was at the pinnacle of his Kommandant career: he oversaw a network of camps that housed over 80,000 people, manned by over one thousand guards. He had constructed the most effective killing machine in human history, capable of murdering over four thousand people a day. His wife was able to enjoy the benefits of such a position: entertaining the most powerful men in the land in her lavishly appointed home.”

I have to say, not all of Hanns and Rudolf evolves around such descriptive and inexorable extermination of the Jews. Much light is also shed on the early years of both protagonists (as well as their later/final years), Berlin during Weinmar, as well as the aforementioned criminal investigations that took place in 1945/6.

Quite simply, this really is a tremendous book; written with verve, truth and humanistic compassion.

David Marx

Beyond Justice – The Auschwitz Trial


Beyond Justice – The Auschwitz Trial
By Rebecca Wittmann
Harvard University Press – £14.95

To say Beyond Justice – The Auschwitz Trial is a reflective and considered testament to surely one of the most abhorrent crimes in the history of the world, might be deduced as something of an understatement. For in 1963, what was then West Germany, was gripped by the dramatic unfolding in the trial of former (unspeakably cruel) guards, who had ‘’worked’’ at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.

By way of utilising pre-trial files and extensive trial audiotapes, authoress Rebecca Whittmann herein provides a telling, yet refreshing reinterpretation of Germany’s initial attempt at confronting its not so recent, disturbing past.

Yet one doesn’t need to delve very far into the book, in order to be both dismayed and shocked by a variant of the inevitable outcome(s): ‘’[…] only the most grotesque and shocking of crimes were severely punished, while mass murder conducted through the machinery of genocide, the gas chambers and the crematoriums, receded into the background.

The daily events of the trial, the atrocities that were described there and the increasing emphasis on acts of unspeakable cruelty were all transmitted to the public through the press, whose coverage created a ‘’pornography of horror.’’’’

In truth, I find neither of the above all that surprising, for as most people have always known and Whittman substantiates: ‘’Of approximately 100,000 people investigated in Germany and suspected of committing mass murder and participating in the machinery of the ‘’Final Solution,’’ only about 6,500 were actually brought to trial, and the large majority of these before 1949.’’

What Whittmann (who is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto at Mississauga) has written amid these 286 pages, makes for stark yet all too real and compelling reading. It’s the sort of book that many an eighteen-year-old would probably find totally unbelievable; and in a way, who would or could blame them?

Regardless of what despicable things the perpetrators did in the name of just following orders, the mere fact they were actually brought to trial, is in itself, commendable. That the vast majority were tragically let off absolutely isn’t.

Beyond Justice is a very concise, honest and serious book that to my mind, warrants wide and world-wide reading.

David Marx

Man’s Search For The Ultimate Meaning

Man’s Search For Ultimate Meaning
By Viktor E. Frankl
Rider/Ebury Publishing – £9.99

In the very first chapter of this unsurprisingly amazing book (‘The Essence of Existential Analysis’), there’s a quote from Vienna’s most famous poet and contemporary of Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzer: […] there are really only three virtues: objectivity, courage, and a sense of responsibility.’’ Not only is it nigh impossible to disagree with said substantiation of virtue, there’s no denying that Viktor E. Frankl – Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy and former inmate of both Auschwitz and Dachau – was, perhaps still is, one of its quintessential living embodiments.

Perhaps best known throughout the world for having written Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl has bestowed upon literally millions of troubled souls, a form of translucent, sincere understanding; the sort of which is as illusive to embrace as it is metaphorically awkward to define.

Hence, the countless diversionary tactics which are relatively easy to embrace and define, such as alcoholism, drug abuse and a wanton desire to be anything other than that which we truly are: human. To be sure, within the context of human nature, there are forces of good and forces of unspeakable evil. That Viktor E. Frankl and Adolf Hitler were both born in Austria within six years of each other is just one such instance – if not a juxtapositional, social calamity. As while the latter was all powerful yet deluded beyond any form of redemption, the former was a gentle intellectual; with more scope for human discernment and comprehension, than a thousand wretched Third Reichs’ put together.

This might partly explain Frankl’s survival, not to mention his wisdom and heart-felt authorship of an extraordinary collection of books – among them: The Doctor and the Soul, The Will to Meaning, The Unconscious God and The Unheard Cry for Meaning. Lest it be revered within the thread that traverses throughout all of his writing(s), is the degree to which all of us really can discover meaning.

That life has so much more to offer than anyone can ever possibly imagine.
But here’s the deal: we have to make the effort to find it. What’s more, we won’t find it within the context of the needle and the damage done (or within the inexorable shopping malls of insanity).

That said, we might not find it in Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning either, but we will at least find the right questions. And what more could one possibly ask for, but to at least embark on one’s journey from the right place? As Michael Berenbaum, author of After Tragedy and Triumph has written, this book is to be ‘’treasured by… men and women who wrestle with ultimate questions and encounter God as often in the question as in the answer.’’

David Marx