After reading The Investigation by Peter Weiss I feel completely discombobulated. I use this word with care and consideration. This, in my opinion was one of the most powerful books in the sense that it was accordingly written genuinely. The book being an actual play was at first a little confusing to figure out who was talking, the names were not given unless one of the “witness'” addressed them in their dialect. The descriptions of the episodes that had occurred were very intense, nothing was held back “A baby was born during the unloading. I wrapped it in a piece of cloth and set it down by the mother Baretzki (an accused nazi) came at me with his stick and beat me and the woman. ‘What are you doing with that garbage there’ he yelled and kicked the baby so it flew about 10 yards. Then he ordered ‘bring that shit over here’ by then the child was dead” 1. This is just one of the many tragic and emotional stories told throughout the entire book.
When reading these stories of the rasping truth and then reading the responses of the accused men, I became extremely enraged. They would contradict themselves and always blame the laws, that they were merely following orders, “Accused Boger would you care to reconsider your statement that you never fired a shot in the camp. Accused #2: I stand by my statement today and a thousand years from now I will stand by it. Not that I would have been afraid to shoot. I would only have been carrying out orders” 2. This man then continues to respond on the next page with “I did once”3. This really agitates me.
Almost every one of the accused denied it first then eventually gave up and started to blame the obedience that led them to do it. They then start to try and make it sound like they should be victims too. “As an old soldier I was able to save many lives by helping with the evacuations. My own son was killed”4. This is where an accused person tries to make it seem like they should take pity on him. His son died? What about the millions of people whose entire familles were killed because of the people like him.
The entire book upsets me by the way the killers are never afraid of hurting or killing others, but when it comes to them, they are terrified. This book was by far the one that effected me the most. Every page I read was incredible and the author wrote it as a play to really show the pain throughout the trials, and to show the incredible stories. The blame was pointed in all different directions yet the directions just never seemed to lead to anything or anyone.
1 Quoted in Peter Weiss, The Investigation, pg 21 2 Quoted in Peter Weiss, The Investigation, pg 173 3 Quoted in Peter Weiss, The Investigation, pg 174 4 Quoted in Peter Weiss, The Investigation, pg 272