The second book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankel (1905-1997), was on an altogether deeper plane (my grateful thanks to Alice and apologies for taking so long to read this). Frankel, something of a child prodigy in psychiatry, turned down the opportunity of an American immigration visa to stay with his ageing parents in Nazi Vienna. In September 1942 he and all of his family were deported to concentration camps. Only Frankl, who spent time in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Kaufering and Dachau, survived. The book is in two parts. The first is a memoir of his time in the camps. The second is a summary of his theory of logotherapy. There are two profoundly touching moments in the memoir. The first comes as he enters Auschwitz, when he is obliged to give away his very first manuscript, a labour of love, together with all of his clothes. In return, he receives the rags of a dead man. In the pocket of the tattered coat he finds a single torn-out page of a Hebrew prayer book with the Shema Yisrael. The second comes at Dachau, when the guards suddenly change to civilian dress and a white flag is run up the flag pole. The surviving inmates, bags of skin and bone, wander tentatively out of the camp but return to their huts in the evening and, swapping notes on their experience of the freedom that they have waited so long to regain, agree among themselves that they hadn’t enjoyed it – indeed, couldn’t. They had gone beyond it. There are many memorable passages in this book. Memorable, too, is Frankl’s resort to Nietzsche (‘that which does not kill me makes me stronger’), but above all, like all the camp survivors’ accounts, this work is profoundly humbling. They were truly a race apart: ‘No explanations are needed for those who have been inside, and the others will understand neither how we felt then nor how we feel now.’ It is also uncanny how the young Frankl had already elaborated his theory of man’s search for meaning which would enable him to give meaning to the horrible experiences he was about to undergo. This is surely a work of permanent relevance.