(Review) The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg
Genre: Historical fiction, Holocaust, World War II
Source: Self purchase
Rating: 5 stars for excellent
Link @ Tyndale for more info on the book. This link includes an excerpt.
Link @ Amazon
ECPA 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist!
2014 finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards!
Links of interest:
I Escaped from Auschwitz, from The Guardian
Escapes and Reports, from Memorial and Museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Rudolf Vrba, from the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team
Jerry Bielek, from the Daily Mail
Auschwitz, from The United Holocaust Memorial Museum
History and Overview of Auschwitz, from the Jewish Virtual Library
The Auschwitz Escape is a Christian historical fiction story of an escape from the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz.
Auschwitz is located near the town of Oswiecim, Poland, near the border of Germany. It is 37 miles west of Krakow. Auschwitz is generally used to refer to all the camps in this area. However, there was a large network, comprised of 3 main camps and 44 sub-camps. Auschwitz 1 began in 1941 with political prisoners, followed by criminal, resistance, and Jews. Later, homosexuals and gypsies were included. The prisoners died by poisonous gas, diseases, starvation, severe labor, harsh weather conditions, and other methods of extermination at the hands of the Nazis.
Between 2.1 million and 4 million were murdered.
Jacob Weisz is a young man living in Germany. He and his parents are Jews. The Jews know something horrible is happening to their people, yet are filled with a mix of shock and fear. Do they stay or do they leave? Jacob becomes involved in the resistance action. The Auschwitz Escape is essentially his story, yet it demonstrates the plight of all Jews during this period.
This is the first book I've read by Joel C. Rosenberg. The book has gained high marks/reviews from readers. I've been anxious to read this book!
I've read a long list of Holocaust stories and memoirs. I am not an expert. I am not a history harpie. However, this genre of books causes me to "pick at" a little more for accuracy.
The first note-worthy element of The Auschwitz Escape is we know from history very few people escaped. We know from reading books and watching films the horrors of Auschwitz, as well as the perilous and (near) impenetrable prison. As a curious reader, I had to know how an escape was carried out? This questions led me to continue reading till the last page.
There are a few situations in the book where Jacob gets a pass. He is in the right place at the right time and among the right kind of people who can help. I am okay with this. Sometimes life is like this. We are in the right place to be helped and by the right kind of people. However, another reader may find this far-fetched and not real enough.
The previous thought is balanced by the horrors of Auschwitz, and the way in which Jacob came to be there. This place is NOT the right place, nor the right kind of people to be under their control.
The Auschwitz Escape creates a strong emotional response. Auschwitz was hell. This was hell on earth. It is the place where Hollywood productions seems minuscule and insignificant. Rosenberg portrayed Auschwitz to the point of causing me physical discomfort. No human can adequately share in words the horrors of Auschwitz, because words are just not enough. I feel Rosenberg has accomplished his mission of describing Auschwitz and the story of Jacob.
Some stories use a place as a character. I know this seems like a false statement, but Auschwitz was its own organism. It was a character. It was a monster.
Lastly, this is a Christian fiction story. This means Christianity is referred to. I have read books where the Christian theme is on every page. I have read books where I had to hunt for the Christian theme. Where I saw this element the most is in the later half of the book, and I did not think it was pasted into the story as a filler.
Reading Holocaust stories, whether fictional or biographic, is important in educating modern society of where we can never repeat. It gives a voice to honor all of those who suffered in the Holocaust.