Dr. Norman Mounter - Broken Oaths
Dr. Norman Mounter contacted Burton Mayers Books in June 2020 with his idea for a novel based on Miklós Nyiszli, who broke his Hippocratic oath by working for Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The novel comes under the umbrella of Holocaust fiction. Over several months, the book undertook to huge edits and changes and went through a rigorous beta-testing phase due to the sensitive subject matter of the book, this included having it read by MA students of Holocaust Studies and European History to ensure the accuracy of the content.
Whilst Broken Oaths is indeed fictional, it draws extensively from firsthand accounts, letters, diaries and biographies of those concerned within the narrative. Indeed, there are very few events described that do not have a direct historical source associated with it.
The reliability of Miklós Nyiszli’s account of his time in the crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau is of course open to speculation and has been the basis of much academic scrutiny. Despite this, the account remains part of the historical archive and offers a rare insight into the personality and war crimes of Dr. Josef Mengele.
The book explores numerous themes that include anti-Semitism, medical ethics, euthanasia and eugenics. It also attempts to examine the genocide from a German perspective, especially in the context of their rich scientific and medical past. This is especially pertinent in their design of the Birkenau crematoria which became both killing factories and centres of pseudoscientific medical research. This facet of the novel investigates the functioning components of the extermination and cremation processes, specifically addressing some of the arguments of holocaust denial.