Borowski takes us into the realm of what I call pornographic confrontation: an absolutely stark rendition of the concentration-camp world to the point of a distilling its horror and bypassing whatever humanity might have existed. We learn that atrocity traps victimizers and victims alike in its deadly paradox.
Until 1943, First Sergeant Schillinger performed the duties of Lagerführer, or chief commanding officer of labor sector "D" at Birkenau, which was part of the enormous complex of large and small concentration camps, centrally administered from Auschwitz, but scattered throughout Upper Silesia.
Schillinger was a short, stocky man. He had a full, round -face and very light blond hair, brushed flat against his head. His eyes were blue, always slightly narrowed, his lips tight, and his face was usually set in an impatient grimace. He cared little about personal appearance, and I have never heard of an incident involving his being bribed by any of the camp "bigwigs."
Schillinger reigned over sector "D" with an iron hand. Never resting for a moment, he bicycled up and down the camp roads, always popping up unexpectedly where he was least wanted.
His arm could strike a blow as hard as a metal bar; he could crack a jaw or crush the life out of a man with no apparent effort.
His vigilance was untiring. Each of his frequent visits to the other sectors of Birkenau spread panic among the women, the gypsies, or the "aristocracy" of the Effektenkammer, Birkenau's wealthiest section, where the riches taken from the gas victims were stored. He also supervised the Kommandos working within the great circle of the watch-towers, and without warning he would inspect the prisoners' suits, the Kapos'