Nicole Tracy | Literary Columnist
One look at the plot summary for The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg gives one a real good understanding of what the story contained within the pages of the book is going to entail.
“A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans?especially Jews like Jacob and his family?are treated like dogs.
When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare?trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.
As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his “final solution” to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he’s not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi’s atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.”
The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg introduces us to the story of Jacob Weisz, a man involved in the German resistance. Though Weisz is indeed German himself, he sees what scourge the Nazi forces truly are, and decides that it is his duty to preserve the Fatherland he knows and fight back against this oppression.
Shortly after joining the underground resistance, Jacob and his friend find themselves in the middle of a raid, and then packed off on a cramped train to Auschwitz, the most infamous of death camps. In it, they must gather whatever strength and faith they have left, escape and tell the world about all the atrocities they are witnessing within.
Though this is of course a work of historical fiction, it does tell a story that happened countless times, to both better and worse degrees. Though the ending can be seen from afar, Rosenberg still manages to do a decent job at creating tension by making situations from which it’s hard or near-impossible to see an exit for the protagonists. The characters are very compelling in their own ways, all of their stories eventually ending in the tragedy that is Auschwitz.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of this book is that Rosenberg manages to stir within the reader that indomitable desire to fight evil and pure hatred for whoever propagates it. He discusses subjects such as the force of hope that can keep a person going even through the darkest of days, how to reconcile faith in the face of such an inexplicable evil, the importance of fighting back against evil rather than sitting by, and more.
All in all, The Auschwitz Escape is a moving novel on many dimensions, offering a captivating and nerve-wracking story coupled with some profound thinking on the oldest subject there is: the battle of good against evil. While the subject matter is difficult, this novel should be considered if one enjoys historical fiction.
The Auschwitz Escape is available at book retailers nationwide.