The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

by Jonathan Freedland
The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

by Jonathan Freedland

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

A teenaged Rudolf Vrba imprisoned in Auschwitz plots and executes a nail-biter of a great escape, intending to give witness to the evil he found in the infamous concentration camp and to give an early clarion call of warning. But would the world listen and take heed? Veteran thriller writer Jonathan Freedland gives us a bracing tale of adventure and heroism, an audacious and complicated hero, a compelling picture Holocaust survival.

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award · New York Times Bestseller

"A brilliant and heart-wrenching book, with universal and timely lessons about the power of informationand misinformation. Is it possible to stop mass murder by telling the truth?" — Yuval Noah Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

A complex hero. A forgotten story. The first witness to reveal the full truth of the Holocaust . . .

Award-winning journalist and bestselling novelist Jonathan Freedland tells the astonishing true story of Rudolf Vrba, the man who broke out of Auschwitz to warn the world of a truth too few were willing to hear.

In April 1944, Rudolf Vrba became one of the very first Jews to escape from Auschwitz and make his way to freedom—among only a tiny handful who ever pulled off that near-impossible feat. He did it to reveal the truth of the death camp to the world—and to warn the last Jews of Europe what fate awaited them. Against all odds, Vrba and his fellow escapee, Fred Wetzler, climbed mountains, crossed rivers, and narrowly missed German bullets until they had smuggled out the first full account of Auschwitz the world had ever seen—a forensically detailed report that eventually reached Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the Pope.

And yet too few heeded the warning that Vrba had risked everything to deliver. Though Vrba helped save two hundred thousand Jewish lives, he never stopped believing it could have been so many more.

This is the story of a brilliant yet troubled man—a gifted “escape artist” who, even as a teenager, understood that the difference between truth and lies can be the difference between life and death. Rudolf Vrba deserves to take his place alongside Anne Frank, Oskar Schindler, and Primo Levi as one of the handful of individuals whose stories define our understanding of the Holocaust.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063112360
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 04/25/2023
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 17,132
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland is a weekly columnist for the Guardian, where he edits the paper’s op-ed pages and chairs its Editorial Board. He was previously the Guardian’s Washington correspondent. In 2014 he won the George Orwell Prize for Journalism. He lives in London with his wife and their two children. @Freedland.

Table of Contents

Author's Note 11

Maps 16

Prologue 25

Part I The Preparations 41

1 Star 43

2 Five Hundred Reichsmarks 64

3 Deported 79

4 Majdanek 92

Part II The Camp 111

5 We Were Slaves 113

6 Kanada 140

7 The Final Solution 153

8 Big Business 172

9 The Ramp 191

10 The Memory Man 216

11 Birkenau 231

12 'It Has Been Wonderful' 252

Part III The Escape 273

13 Escape Was Lunacy 275

14 Russian Lessons 287

15 The Hideout 300

16 Let My People Go 312

17 Underground 327

18 On the Run 336

19 Crossing the Border 354

Part IV The Report 375

20 In Black and White 377

21 Men of God 398

22 What Can I Do? 408

23 London Has Been Informed 423

24 Hungarian Salami 443

Part V The Shadow 469

25 A Wedding with Guns 471

26 A New Nation, a New England 494

27 Canada 515

28 I Know a Way Out 534

29 Flowers of Emptiness 551

30 Too Many to Count 561

Acknowledgements 585

Picture Credits 591

Notes 593

Bibliography 655

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