TO WIESENTHAL “THE HOLOCAUST WAS NOT ONLY A JEWISH TRAGEDY BUT A HUMAN ONE”: FIRST EDITION OF WIESENTHAL’S RARE FIRST BOOK, KZ. MAUTHAUSEN, 1945, WITH FULL-PAGE DUOTONE OF MAUTHAUSEN AND 25 FULL-PAGE DUOTONES AFTER ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY HIM
(HOLOCAUST) WIESENTHAL, Simon. KZ. Mauthausen. Linz and Wien: Ibis-Verlag, 1946. Quarto, original tan paper wrappers printed in red and black. $2000.
First edition of Simon Wiesenthal’s rare first book, published only one year after his liberation from the brutality of Mauthausen death camp, one of the first published narratives of the Holocaust, with his text in German, a full-page duotone of Mauthausen, red-and-black front wrapper and 25 full-page duotones after striking original drawings and photo-montages by him, in original wrappers.
This scarce first edition of KZ. Mauthausen, the first book by Simon Wiesenthal, is one of the first published narratives of the Holocaust. In this work’s text and its 26 powerful duotone plates, including 25 after drawings and photo-montages by Wiesenthal, he records the horror of Mauthausen, which “had the highest death rate of all the concentration camps… Of the 335,000 prisoners estimated to have passed through Mauthausen and its satellites, 122,767 were murdered” (Encyclopedia Judaica). Imprisoned in the Janowska camp, Wiesenthal was among those forced on a brutal death march in the face of the advancing Red Army, “with stops at the camps in Plasgow, Gross-Rosen and Buchenwald and ending at Mauthausen in Austria. There Wiesenthal, weighing 97 pounds, was liberated by Americans on May 5, 1945. Almost as soon as he could stand, he began collecting evidence on the atrocities for the War Crimes Section of the United States Army” (New York Times). To Wiesenthal, “the Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but a human one… he deserves to be remembered for his contribution to the culture of memory and the belief that remembering the dead is sanctifying life” (Segev, Simon Wiesenthal, 7-10). His lifelong work in tracking down Nazis famously led to the capture of Eichman and he also found the man “responsible for arresting Anne Frank and her family in their secret annex in Amsterdam, a feat of sleuthing that buttressed the credibility of Anne’s diary in the face of neo-Nazi claims that it was fabricated… Governments, security agencies and lonely survivors turned their eyes to him when no one else had hard information or a sympathetic ear” (New York Times). Text in German. OCLC lists 35 copies worldwide, including the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Stanford, Princeton, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Brandeis, Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University and the National Library of Israel.
A fine copy.