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Escape From Hell
The True Story of the Auschwitz Protocol
Translated by Ewald Osers
Edited by Peter Varnai
Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert
Introduction by Robert Rozett
ISBN 978-1-84545-183-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2007)
ISBN 978-1-78920-792-7 $19.95/£15.95 Pb Published (March 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-943-3 eBook
“…a compelling read; a real thriller. It provides very vivid descriptions of daily life in the camp and recounts in details the miraculous escape and the escapees’ subsequent struggle to convince the unbelieving world of the happenings in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” • British Czech and Slovak Review
“The writing style is direct, with vivid descriptions of harrowing experiences and soul-searching conversations. In these manners, it is akin to Elie Wiesel’s Night”. • Jewish Culture and History
"Alfred Wetzler was a true hero. His escape from Auschwitz, and the report he helped compile, telling for the first time the truth about the camp as a place of mass murder, led directly to saving the lives of 120,000 Jews: the Jews of Budapest who were about to be deported to their deaths. No other single act in the Second World War saved so many Jews from the fate that Hitler and the SS had determined for them. This book tells Wetzler's story." · Sir Martin Gilbert
"Wetzler is a master at evoking the universe of Auschwitz, and especially, his and Vrba's harrowing flight to Slovakia. The day-by-day account of the tremendous difficulties the pair faced after the Nazis had called off their search of the camp and its surroundings is both riveting and heart wrenching. [...] Shining vibrantly through the pages of the memoir are the tenacity and valor of two young men, who sought to inform the world about the greatest outrage ever committed by humans against their fellow humans." · [From Introduction by Dr Robert Rozett]
Together with another young Slovak Jew, both of them deported in 1942, the author succeeded in escaping from the notorious death camp in the spring of 1944. There were some very few successful escapes from Auschwitz during the war, but it was these two who smuggled out the damning evidence – a ground plan of the camp, constructional details of the gas chambers and crematoriums and, most convincingly, a label from a canister of Cyclone gas. The present book is cast in the form of a novel to allow factual information not personally collected by the two fugitives, but provided for them by a handful of reliable friends, to be included. Nothing, however, has been invented. It is a shocking account of Nazi genocide and of the inhuman conditions in the camp, but equally shocking is the initial disbelief the fugitive’s revelations met with after their return.
Alfréd Wetzler (1918–1988) was one of the two inmates of Auschwitz who managed to escape from the death camp using an ingenious scheme to provide the first documentary evidence of the operations at Auschwitz. Once he returned to Slovakia, he joined the national partisan movement under the name of Jozef Lanik. The original book (written in Slovakian) was published under this pseudonym.