My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jacob Weisz is an unexceptional Jewish boy who lives in Siegen, Germany in the 1940s. He likes his quiet life with his parents, loves going to violin lessons because he might catch a glimpse—even a shy smile—from Naomi Silver, and is embarrassed by his inability to hit the target when Uncle Avi tries to teach him how to shoot a gun.
But as Hitler consolidates power over Germany and then starts annexing the nations around, life changes dramatically. Soon, under Uncle Avi’s influence, Jacob finds himself part of the Jewish Resistance movement. And then the unthinkable happens.
The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg takes place in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Rosenberg not only paints scenes of these places in shades of hopeless black and grey, but we taste the slop soup and mouldy bread, feel the cold through thin clothes, the pain of bruised and blistered feet, and smell of smoke from those hellish ovens. That last is a constant reminder of what’s really happening here.
Rosenberg digs deep into Jacob, making us feel his disbelief, abhorrence, fear, despair and hope that surely help will come once the world knows what’s going on here.
The Auschwitz Escape is a compelling, sobering story that takes us back to World War II and then asks us to examine current world events in the light of what we can and should do despite how inconvenient and unpopular it might be.
The Auschwitz Escape is part of my own Kindle collection.