Patricia Posner

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little-known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz.

Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius’s reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, fueled in part by his theft of gold ripped from the mouths of corpses, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder twenty years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil’s pact made between the Nazis and Germany’s largest conglomerate, I.G. Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust. It is told through Nazi henchmen and industrialists turned war criminals, intelligence agents, and zealous prosecutors, and intrepid concentration camp survivors and Nazi hunters.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler’s war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution to postwar Germany’s tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is a moving saga that lingers long after the final page.

[Added June 22, 2023]

History Camp Authors

    America's Summer Roadtrip 2020

      Patricia Posner

      Patricia Posner (Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook) is a British-born writer based in Miami Beach, Florida. She has written about many subjects, ranging from women’s health to architectural controversies to battles between real estate developers and community activists. Her articles have appeared, among other places, in The Wall Street JournalNewsweek, The Miami HeraldThe Daily Beast, and Salon.

      She has collaborated with her husband, the author, Gerald Posner, on 13 of his nonfiction books. Patricia’s first solo book was her 2000 memoir, This is Not Your Mother’s Menopause. That was reissued in an updated version in 2003 as No Hormones, No Fear: A Natural Journey Through Menopause.

      In 2017, Patricia published The Pharmacist of Auschwitz, the first biography of the SS officer who ran the pharmacy at the largest Nazi death camp. It became an international hit, translated into 17 languages and was a bestseller in the U.S. and abroad.

      More on these topics and by these presenters

      More from History Camp