This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Paperback

This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Paperback

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

4.5 out of 5 (15 ratings)


Tadeusz Borowski's concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau.

In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanket or the luxury of a pair of shoes with thick soles; and where the line between normality and abnormality vanishes.

Published in Poland after the Second World War, these stories constitute a masterwork of world literature.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780140186246



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 15 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by

I read this in 1989 and loved it. It inspired me to read other works, and fits well in the existential catagory.

Review by

This collection of short stories by an Auschwitz survivor is a glimpse into the horrors of the concentration camp where people do whatever is necessary to survive. Although classified as fiction, it is clearly a chronicle of all that Borowksi participated in and observed. The arrival of the transports that brought thousands of people to a camp where they were then immediately dispatched to the gas chambers is just one of the horrific, unimaginable events that was a routine part of everyday life. The monstrous inhumanity of the Nazis is beyond comprehension to a sane mind.

Review by

The introduction to this book says it gives no comfort, no pity and no hope. That pretty much sums it up. The first essay is the best. It is not enjoyable to read, rather it is sickening to the core, but I believe, it is a book that should be read.

Review by

This is another book that narates man's proclivity to cruelty. The Nazi party came to power in a country that represented the best of western culture and proceeded to destroy this culture. Yet, it is not the Third Reich alone that stains mankind. Genocide in Armenia, the barbarities of Stalin and Mao and recently in the Balkans, are but examples. There is a stain on man's nature, on his soul. Our behavior comes from our soul.

Review by

These are a series of interconnected stories/vignettes inspired by the author's experiences in Auschwitz and Dachau. He was an intellectual, radical activist when he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where he arrived only a few short weeks after the Nazis instituted the policy to spare Aryans from the gas chambers. Taudeusz wrote that when a writer writes of his camp experiences, "the reader will unfailingly ask, But how did it happen that you survived? Tell then, how you bought places in the hospital, easy posts, how you moved the 'Moslems' {prisoners who had lost the will to live} into the oven, how you bought women, men, what you did in the barracks, unloading the transports, at the gypsy camp; tell about the daily life of the camp, about the hierarchy of fear, about the loneliness of every man. But write that you, you were the ones who did this, that a portion of the sad shame of Auschwitz belongs to you as well."And this is the perspective that Taudeusz brings to the story of the Holocaust--the "in-between": one who perpetrates evil, even as evil is perpetrated upon him, one who is imprisoned, even as he imprisons others. The stories, all narrated in the first person, are told in a matter-of-fact, detached way, in which the worst evils are simply "routine." One of the most chilling stories for me was the description of a soccer game among the prisoners in which the goalie, noticing first the line of people at the chambers, and then its disappearance, notes: "Between two throw-ins a soccer game, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death."Tadeusz committed suicide in 1951, before he was 30, and three days after the birth of his daughter.

  Previous  |  Next

Also in the Penguin Modern Classics series   |  View all