Anthology – Peoples’ Plan for Life, Now and Forever …
Primo Levi introduces Mr. Langbein.
“The pages that follow are the concluding ones of a book that is dear to me, one that seems to me to be fundamental, and that I should have liked to have written myself: but I would have been incapable of it, because at Auschwitz my horizon was limited. This was not the case with Hermann Langbein, Austrian, political prisoner, and an exceptional figure in the Resistance: his experience of fighting in Spain was his entrée into the secret society of the resistance that existed inside the camp: his guile enabled him to rise to the eventual post of secretary to a high-ranking medical officer in the SS. His double role exposed him to a serious and constant danger, but allowed him to amass an endless number of factual reports and personal stories.
“The title of the book, Humankind in Auschwitz, is rich in significance: the author wrote it for a precise purpose, not to accuse or to move, but to facilitate understanding. He has brought to fruition an unpleasant task; for many years after the liberation he wasn’t content only to consult memoirs and to interview the few survivors among the prisoners, but he carried the inquest as far as concerning himself with the perpetrators, forcing himself (and us) to understand the way men can be induced to assume certain ‘duties’. The result is surprising; there are no demons, the assassins of millions of innocents are people like us. They don’t have different blood to ours but, consciously or not, they have chosen a dangerous road, the road of submission and acquiescence from which there is no return.”