A Judge in Auschwitz by Kevin Prenger

A Judge in Auschwitz by Kevin Prenger* – Konrad Morgen’s Crusade Against SS Corruption and ‘Illegal’ Murder – must be one of the best books I read this year. Unlike most of the books about Auschwitz or the German genocide of Jews, which deal with the victims, this one is about one of the perpetrators, an SS judge. From the beginning, Morgen was involved in the investigations team dealing with corruption and stealing. What was surprising was that some were concerned with the torturing and killing of prisoners. They wanted to kill all of them, but in the “correct” order?!

The idea that Germans wanted to exterminate all Jews, but were concerned enough of how this was carried out to have a team checking for “illegal” murders it’s puzzling to say the least. Morgen arrived in Auschwitz in 1943 because a parcel with gold which was sent from the camp was intercepted. I would understand an investigation into corruption and embezzlement, of course. The Nazi needed, like all other countries, moral and law abiding authorities who would respect the rules and not steal from the government especially when at war. Taking gold from dead Jews for themselves was wrong, the gold was the property of the state. Of course, if you ignore the whole moral question about why those poor people were killed in the first place.

A Judge in Auschwitz by Kevin Prenger

I found Morgen fascinating. He was very concerned about the law, even got into trouble twice for pushing with his investigations. He was shown the gas chambers and the crematoria, he went to Auschwitz, to Buchenwald, and saw what happened there. He even arrested and charged Koch from Buchenwald. He tried to prosecute Auschwitz Commandant Höss and went for two Waffen-SS commanders. It’s amazing that these things even happened. It also shows that corruption went all the way up, as his work was hindered for different reasons.

This book deals with all these conflicting aspects and Prenger tries to offer a balanced view. I think he did an amazing job because the book is really great. He offers short explanations of how the German law system worked. What happened after the war ended, and the, less known, Frankfurt Auschwitz trials of 1960s, was incredible because they were tried on the Federal Republic’s laws and not the international law of crimes against humanity. So, these people could be found guilty only of breaking the laws that were effective in the period when they committed the crimes, obviously genocide was not in the law.

The book, even for a short one, gave a lot of details and information and it is a must read. I found out many interesting facts in it and it made me want to read more about some of the topics I wasn’t familiar with before. So, I gave it a very well deserved 5 stars and I highly recommend it.

A Judge in Auschwitz by Kevin Prenger

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Military
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 169

About the author: Kevin Prenger is a writer of World War II history, living in his native Netherlands. He is the chief editor of the website TracesOfWar.com and also contributes to the Dutch online history magazine Historiek.net. His previous works include War Zone Zoo, the history of the Berlin zoo during World War II and Christmas under Fire, 1944. A Judge in Auschwitz, previously published in Dutch and Polish, is his third book translated in English.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of A Judge in Auschwitz by Kevin Prenger for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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