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I Escaped from Auschwitz Paperback – 27 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Robson Books Ltd; New ed edition (27 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861059272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861059277
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Rudolf Vrba was born in Czechoslovakia in 1924. At the age of fifteen he was excluded from the Gymnasium of Bratislava under anti-Jewish laws, and subsequently deported to Maidanek and then Auschwitz. There, he co-authored the Report on Auschwitz, known now as the Auschwitz Protocols. From his unique. insider's position within the regime's wily, treacherous and insidious administrative system, Vrba's experience of the Holocaust is unforgettable. He lives in Vancouver where he is Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at the University of British Columbia. He has contributed to Claude Lanzmann's seminal 'Shoah' film, testified as an expert witness at many trials of Nazis, and still lectures frequently on the Holocaust throughout North America.

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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By G. Morgan on 6 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is Rudolph Vrba's account of his life and escape from Auschwitz. He relates the horrific reverse society he lived in where criminals were the police and policing was torture and death. He wore a number. He was forced to witness his people murdered in the tens of thousands.
After his escape he attempted (with the evidence he had managed to escape with) to reach the Jewish population of Hungaria in order to warn them that they were about to be murdered. He thought that the powers that be would attempt to save them; he was wrong, 400,000 of them died because of disbeleif and scepticism in his story but more so because of a traitor.
As with all Holocaust testimony the stories are worth the time reading and their message worth assimilating. Germany was not an anomally, it could have been any country in the world that fell into such barbarity. Rudolph Vrba's account therefore is as much as a warning now as it was when he first escaped. The personalities that perpetrated these horrors exist in contemporary times also, these are not extraordinary people; it is the fact that they are ordinary that makes it imperative that Vrba's account be read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scots Lass on 26 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Slovak border is about 80 miles from Auchwitz, as the crow flies. Unfortunately, Fred and I were only Jews, which meant we had to walk".

The stunning true account of the escape from Auschwitz Concentration camp by two young inmates - the author Rudolf Vrba and Alfred (Fred) Wetzler - is something that every school in the world should own a copy of, and as many people as possible should be encouraged to read.

Rudolf Vrba, interned whilst still in his teens, realised that the Jews would resist the death trains if only they knew what they truly meant. Therefor he made up his mind that he must escape and tell the world what was happening withtin the confines of the Nazi extermination camp.

It was not until 1944 that Rudolf and Alfred succeeded where many had failed and managed not only to escape but to make their way - with the help of brave Polish people - to safety where they alerted the remaining Jewish councils as to what was really being done. Despite their accurate accounts, however, the information which might have saved many more Hungarian Jews was NOT immediately made available to the rulers and allies who may have been able to take action sooner - nonetheless, these two men are responsibly for the lives of many thousands of Auschwitz inmates.

Written with stark brutality - and yet with moments of humour - this is an unfortgettable tale of mans inhumanity to man. Of former boyhood friends who thought nothing of executing their old playmates, or the innocence of the many who went willingly to the "shower blocks" or who volunteered to work on the "farms" that were promised as part of the Jewish resettlement.

Rudolf refers to the inmates, standing to attention for an inspection, as being "like well behaved zebras".
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
An excellent book from someone who has really been there.
Moving and certainly gripping, at times the stories are so unbelievable you have to pinch yourself to remind you people can do this.
Well worth reading
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Phillips on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
The Holocaust - aren'tchasickofit ? For many the subject is by now boring, even irritating. The whole c.6-million person massacre has, sadly, been 'done to death'. It's always about the Jews. Why won't they stop whining ? Don't they know 25 million Russians died in the Second World War ? How are they different from Stalin's disappeared or Mao's millions ?

The answer is of course that they are no different, and the strength of this book lies in that there is no special pleading. This is no Hollywood tale about a people done down, misunderstood and mistreated. This is the story of what humans do to humans. It is the account of a boy who lived it. He tells a spare, unvarnished, unsentimental story about what happened to him. As he recounts the events of his youth, you get to see his community - Slovakian, Jewish - warts and all, and all the other groups and individuals with which he becomes necessarily involved: Hungarian, Polish, German; Zionist, Communist, Nazi; politicians and bureaucrats; fools, saints, sadists, traitors, heroes; the quick, the weak and the dead.

Even after a lifetime of being subjected to the story of the 'Final Solution', one thing came through to me from this narrative which to my surprise I had never properly understood: the staggering scale of what the Nazis did. The best one might do perhaps is to envisage a project to kill everyone in London, with limited means and methods available. It would take years, and could not be achieved if the population were ever to suspect what is going on. Yet the Nazis built an entire economy of genocide.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Rowland TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rudolph Vrba was a prisoner in Nazi death camps from 1942 and on 7 April 1944, he and Alfred Wetzler escaped from Auschwitz death camp and they provided a vivid and highly detailed account that reached the allies about what was happening at the camp, the scale of the killings (he estimated that between April 1942 and April 1944, 1,765,000 Jews had been gassed) and the extermination that was planned for the 800,000 Jews in Hungary, the last great concentration of Jews left untouched at that time by the Nazis. His account of his time in the camp is truly horrific and relentless and you really sense his anger and frustration when after all his efforts to gather information in very risky circumstances the allied governments took no direct action to disrupt or prevent the killings at the death camps even though they knew full well what was taking place.

Vrba's views about this are agonising to read and are very well conveyed. The allies consistantly stated at the time that taking such action was inpracticable but this was disputed then and has been since. My criticism of the allies is not that they tried but failed but that they did not even bother to try.

David Rowland
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