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1 rating: 3.0
A book by Pascal Croci

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Author: Pascal Croci
Genre: Humor, History, Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Norma Editorial Sa
Date Published: October 15, 2005
1 review about Auschwitz

Auschwitz; A Moving Story

  • Feb 19, 2008
Pros: Illustrations, historically accurate, the afterward/questions and answers

Cons: I was expecting more

The Bottom Line: Get a copy of Croci's Auschwitz from your library; it's a quick read that will leave you thinking for a long time.

A few months ago I was searching for graphic novels that covered different cultures and historical events. One book that obviously came to my attention was entitled Auschwitz by Pascal Croci. Auschwitz is a notable title because so many people associate it with the German Holocaust that took place during World War 2. This was a book that, while slightly more difficult to obtain, I was able to get my hands on through interlibrary loan at my library (and uh, being the interlibrary loan specialist did help) finally and thankfully.

The author portrays this story of Auschwitz through the point of view of a Polish couple, Kazik and his wife, Cessia. Contrary to popular (and previously, my own) belief, the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was in Poland, and the author, who wanted to make this clear, chose to depict a Polish couple. In the beginning of the book, Kazik and Cessia have returned to the concentration camp and are having what seems to be their first discussion of the events that took place here since those long-gone (but obviously not forgotten) days. Kazik and Cessia take turns unveiling for the first time to each other their stories of the Shoah. Kazik begins, giving us a clear description of the bleak and horrific events of Auschwitz in the form of a flashback. Cessia then gives her tale, some of it being completely unknown to Kazik. Both sides of the story come together to unveil a personal, heartbreaking story.

Croci has not only written an honest story, he has illustrated it such that it moves the reader in an emotional way. The drawings are grayscale images that seem to draw the reader into the bleak, numbly terrifying atmosphere. There seems to be a haze covering everything, yet the images are clear and unmistakable. I will mention that while the illustrations are at times incredibly emotional, Croci never includes anything that could be considered tasteless; the effect is that he moves the reader, but never to the point of disgust. It was a combination of these dark images, the authors choice of words, and my own knowledge about concentration camps that kept my heart in my throat almost the entire time I read this book.

I've read and seen things about the Holocaust before, and can see an obvious (and author-admitted) influence of Spielberg's Schindler's List that is sometimes so similar it's annoying. After the story ends Croci answers questions about his research and influences for the story, and he answers questions about things within the story I didn't quite understand previously. Croci had three main subjects he interviewed, and their stories and details all added up to assist the author and illustrator in creating a moving book. In the question and answer session in included in the book, the author elaborates on his choices for characters (in the story, the main characters seem both hopeless and perseverant at different points, which is very inspiring and helped create a realistic feeling), discussing how important it was to him to include specific details to maintain the honesty of the historical events.

Pascal Croci has written and illustrated an incredibly moving tale of concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. As I mentioned earlier, this book was somewhat hard to obtain; not very many libraries owned a copy, and very few were able/willing to lend it. I will admit that I was slightly disappointed; don't get me wrong, the book was an incredibly accurate depiction of these horrifying events, but I was hoping for a little more. If it weren't for the pages at the end of the book where the author goes into depth about creating this book, I would be rating it 3 stars. This section helped me understand a few things and actually held me in awe more than parts of the story did. While I don't think I should have to read an explanation section to understand a book, it is historical, and sometimes history calls for explanation. The book is fairly large in size, but thin; I read it within an hour, and despite my difficulty understanding parts of it, I recommend it for going into emotional depth.


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