(Jerusalem, Israel) — As leaders from 46 countries arrive here to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, The Jerusalem Post published a new column of mine on four of the most important — yet all-but-forgotten — heroes of the Holocaust.
Their stories urgently need to be told. Their names must be remembered. I say it’s high time to make a major motion picture or television series about such extraordinary heroism in the face of such barbaric evil.
To read the full column, please click here. For now, allow me to share a few key excerpts:
- “[On] April 7, 1944, the greatest escape in human history took place. That was the day that two Slovak Jews – Rudolf Vrba, only 19 at the time, and Fred Wetzler, barely 25 – managed to break free from the worst of the Nazi death camps….
- “The following month – on May 27, 1944 – two more Jewish men were miraculously able to slip out of Auschwitz in the dead of night. Arnost Rosin, then 30 years old, was also from Slovakia. Czeslaw Mordowicz, 23, was from Poland.
- “The four not only planned their escapes together, they eventually linked up in Czechoslovakia. There they wrote a first-hand, detailed, eyewitness report of the mass murder underway inside the death camp.
- “The report, known as ‘The Auschwitz Protocol,’ was translated into numerous languages and smuggled throughout Europe. Copies were sent to Hungary to warn the Jewish community of what the Nazis were really up to. Copies were also sent to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in London, urging both men to take decisive action to liberate Auschwitz or at least bomb it out of existence….”
- “Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, has noted that their ‘Auschwitz Protocol’ was responsible for ‘the largest single greatest rescue of Jews in the Second World War.’ True, some Hungarian 300,000 had already been gassed by the time the report came to light. Still, the four men are credited with ultimately helping save 120,000 Jews in Hungary….”
In 2014, with the critical and wonderful assistance of the foremost Holocaust scholars at Yad Vashem, I wrote The Auschwitz Escape, a novel inspired by these remarkable men, hoping to draw more attention to them.
Yet, as I note in the Post, “more books and articles and essays need to be written about them. Conferences need to be held about them. Better yet, documentary films and dramatic, narrative TV programs and movies need to bring their story to the world.”
Note: What follows are the covers of the memoirs written by Vrba and Wetzler. Also pictured are some of my meetings with scholars at Yad Vashem — including with Dr. Yehuda Bauer, Dr. Robert Rozett and Dr. Susanna Kokkonen — back in 2013 and 2014, including viewing an actual copy of The Auschwitz Protocol preserved in the research vaults under Yad Vashem.
• I Escaped From Auschwitz by Rudolf Vrba
• Escape From Hell: The True Story of the Auschwitz Protocol by Alfred Wetzler
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