Socialist Worker

Heroism and horror—true story of Auschwitz escape

by Hannah Smith
Issue No. 2766

Escapees Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler

Escapees Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler

Slovakia’s Oscar submission for best international film tells the true story of two Auschwitz prisoners who escaped hell.

Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler provided a rare, first-hand and shocking report of genocide at the camp.

After meticulous planning and with the help and resilience of their fellow prisoners, they manage to escape.

The inmates they had left behind courageously stand their ground against the Nazi camp officers.

Meanwhile the two men are driven to survive by the hope that their evidence could save lives.

Emaciated and hurt, they make their way through the mountains back to Slovakia to share their horrific report to the United States Red Cross.

Harrowing at every turn, The Auschwitz Escape is all about telling the horror and the truth of the Holocaust.

That means director Peter Bebjack has to show the terrifying brutality of the regime in the camp—which he manages to do clearly but sensitively.

Bebjack’s focus, though is on the heroism of the two escapees—and of those who stayed behind and risked their lives to help them.

Still, inevitably, it is a very difficult watch.

The Auschwitz Escape, available on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 6 August

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