by Edwin Black
No Resting Place: Holocaust Poland by Rick Halperin and Denise Gee; photographs by Sherry Aikman SMU Embrey Human Rights Program/Terrace Partners (October 2017). Hardcover (11.75” x 11”); 168 pages; 206 color images; $39.95. ISBN 978-0-692-85960-5
No Resting Place/Holocaust Poland achieves searing power to illuminate the dark burning reality of Nazi concentration camps in Poland. Merely holding this volume burns the eyes, the mind, and even the hand.
Southern Methodist University’s Embrey Human Rights Program director Rick Halperin and SMU’s program photographer Sherry Aikman have documented the horror of Poland’s darkest corners — Auschwitz, Stutthof, Gross-Rosen and other camps — both by the ineffable bestiality of the sites and how Embrey program pilgrims were transformed by the experience of visiting them during various winter tours led by Halperin. Poignant photographs burst large across the oversized volume’s pages bring readers painfully close to the artifacts, architecture, and arrhythmia of life and death in Hitler’s mass murder centers.
For the generation that insists we shall never forget, this volume will help the next generation that will find it too easy to forget — easy … until they turn the heavy pages of this mind-singeing tome. Filled with gripping photographs that record hell as it now appears decades later, we are simultaneously transported into hell as it was. The bunkers, barracks and bulging monuments of genocide can offer testimony as potent as any survivor. This is one of those books that requires a quiet, sequestered and prepared time frame. You will lift the cover toward you, and then slowly experience the nightmare, page by page, photo by photo, camp by camp, trauma by trauma … until eventually you give up and concede that the numbing reality of the Holocaust can transcend ghastly statistics, and even personal memories. No Resting Place/Holocaust Poland will accomplish that not with meticulous testimonies, or searing compilations, but its unique capture of the nature of evil, and how its darkness can survive the generations in stillness.
Edwin Black is the New York Times bestselling author of IBM and the Holocaust, Nazi Nexus, and The Farhud.