The Auschwitz Escape

by Joel C. Rosenberg

Book, 2014



Call number




Carol Stream, Illinois : Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2014


As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his "final solution" to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob Weisz 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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Carolee888
I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust but haven't read anything by Joel C. Rosenberg before. His book, The Auschwitz Escape, rings true with details that I have read previously but his book has more than historical accuracy. It is a historical fiction but it the characters were modeled
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after real ones. This book produces a huge emotional impact. I think and feel that everyone, not just Jews, should read this book.

“Evil unchecked is the prelude to genocide” is the opening sentence. Jean Luc Leclerc, an assistant protestant pastor in Sedan, France knew that the Nazis were coming. He was only twenty-eight years old had blonde hair and blue eyes. He went to his niece’s birthday party with the purpose of persuading his sister and brother-in-law that the Nazis would soon cross the border into France and they needed to get out. As little Jacqueline blew out the candles, boom! Pieces of glass and wood were everywhere. The Nazis asked which people are Jews. They beat a lot of people to death and loaded their cattle cars. Families were desperate to escape. They gathered at Luc’s brother-in-laws house. Before long they has 20 some people eating and sleeping and making plans for escape. Luc knew that they could not do enough, he worked to have the whole town Why not get the whole town to help?

Jacob Weiss was only seventeen years old in Siegen Germany in 1930. He was Jewish but he was not religious. Since the Brownshirts came into power, Jews had lost their citizenship, his father lost his teaching job at the university, big piles of books burned, synagogues burned and of course Jews were not allowed to have any firearms. Just in their little town 30,000 Jewish men were arrested. Jacob discovered his own sister beaten to death. When he was upstairs in his bedroom, not able to sleep he heard noises. His father was shot. His mother yelled at the top of her voice for him to run then she was shot. He climbed out of his bedroom window and began the journey of his life.

Later Jacob Weiss and Luc Leclerc meet in Auschwitz. Witness to unspeakable horrors, they must escape to tell the world what is happening and prevent the finishing of the genocide. This book is riveting, filled with starvation, sickness, sorrow and love. At times I had to escape temporarily from the reading about the horrible acts that the Nazis committed but once there was hope of breaking out of Auschwitz, I could not lay this book down.

Please, please read this book, learn from it and encourage others to read it.

I received this book as a win from FirstReads and that in no way influenced my thoughts or feelings in my review.
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LibraryThing member Violet_Nesdoly
Jacob Weisz is an unexceptional Jewish boy who lives in Siegen, Germany in the 1940s. He likes his quiet life with his parents, loves going to violin lessons because he might catch a glimpse—even a shy smile—from Naomi Silver, and is embarrassed by his inability to hit the target when Uncle Avi
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tries to teach him how to shoot a gun.

But as Hitler consolidates power over Germany and then starts annexing the nations around, life changes dramatically. Soon, under Uncle Avi's influence, Jacob finds himself part of the Jewish Resistance movement. And then the unthinkable happens.

The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg takes place in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Rosenberg not only paints scenes of these places in shades of hopeless black and grey, but we taste the slop soup and mouldy bread, feel the cold through thin clothes, the pain of bruised and blistered feet, and smell of smoke from those hellish ovens. That last is a constant reminder of what's really happening here.

Rosenberg digs deep into Jacob, making us feel his disbelief, abhorrence, fear, despair and hope that surely help will come once the world knows what's going on here.

The Auschwitz Escape is a compelling, sobering story that takes us back to World War II and then asks us to examine current world events in the light of what we can and should do despite how inconvenient and unpopular it might be.

The Auschwitz Escape is part of my own Kindle collection.
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LibraryThing member utbw42
It has been a while since a book has had an emotional impact on me like this one. Rosenberg makes his first foray into historical fiction with this novel, and it really explodes off the pages with suspense, terror, despair, and heroic triumph. Like many past students who were briefly exposed to
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this in American History classes, I was suddenly hit with the true realization of what occurred, and I am now exploring books to read in the future on this subject with emphasis on Auschwitz, Birkenau, Sobibor, and Dachau. I have been a big fan of Rosenberg's books in the past, but this one by far is his best. I highly recommend this book for ANYONE. Through the eyes of Jacob Weisz, the reader will slowly discover the unfolding horror of the evils of Nazi Germany and Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish question". Weisz mistakenly finds himself a prisoner at Auschwitz, and through undoubtedly divine intervention, hooks up with Resistance members to formulate a plan to escape and ultimately blow the whistle to the rest of the world on what is going on at Auschwitz and dozens of other concentration camps in Nazi held territory. This all happens with an underlying suspense that literally makes the words leap off the page. Rosenberg ends the book in a way that makes the reader feel the frustration of how the world sat by for years and allowed the Holocaust to run full bore. Hat tip to Rosenberg for this masterpiece.
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LibraryThing member pjhess
A very good fictional account of the horrors of WWII.
LibraryThing member jakesam
I love the way this man writes, As often as I read WWII novels, They still tell me something new each time Could not put it down.
LibraryThing member Stardust_Fiddle
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Epic in scope, Joel Rosenberg’s “The Auschwitz Escape” is a work of historical fiction that is both breathtaking and heartbreaking. Young and naïve Jacob Wiesz, guided by his beloved Uncle Avi, joins the Resistance movement in
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Belgium after he is forced to flee his native Germany. Meanwhile, Jean-Luc Leclerc, an assistant pastor in Vichy France, answers God’s call to love his neighbor and the Jewish people by helping as many of them escape to safety as possible. Unfortunate circumstances land both men in the Auschwitz death camp, and while their approaches differ, they end up interacting in an unexpected and potentially dangerous way. Jacob has never been religious and cannot fathom how a loving God could allow such widespread genocide, and he makes it his mission to survive and try to help his people in any way possible, while Jean-Luc never questions his faith in God or his calling to help the Lord’s chosen people. Together, can the two men make a difference in this place of hellish devastation?

With “The Auschwitz Escape,” Rosenberg crafts an incredible thriller that readers will not be able to put down. Despite its sordid subject matter, Rosenberg handles the story with grace and clean language, drawing upon true accounts and several historical figures. The narrative focuses mostly on Jacob and his experiences, and despite the plethora of Holocaust books already published, this one is unique in its focus and approach. It teaches that even in the darkest hours, there is hope and a place for miracles. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Holocaust and WWII literature, and heart-pounding suspense will find “The Auschwitz Escape” a must-read.
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
Did people really escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp? Yes they did, and this book is a fictionalized tale based on the real events. It follows a man named Jacob who is just a teenager when we first meet him in pre-war Germany. Jacob's Jewish family is undergoing a lot of debate about the
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events that are happening all around them, his father thinks that their good German family is in no danger, that the warnings of Jacob's uncle about the government turning against them are crazy speculations. When his family is targeted Jacob is forced to flee and he runs to his Uncle's cabin. He discovers that his Uncle is a member of the newly formed resistance movement and Jacob quickly becomes a part of it as well. He travels to France and while they are working there they find out about the death camps the Nazi's are sending Jews too. Jacob feels that he must do something to stop this and he, his uncle, and his closest friends attack a train that is taking people to Auschwitz. They do manage to help some people escape, but in the process Jacob gets caught on the train. From then on the story leads gradually to how Jacob participates in the secret resistance movement that was inside the camp--which included plans that lead to prisoners escaping.
It was very easy to get wrapped up in the action of this book, and to also wonder about the historical events upon which it as based. I had to stop and look up some of them to check the facts against the events portrayed in the book, which it was basically true to (some of the timelines were altered just a bit, as the author explains in an appendix at the end of the novel). I enjoyed the learning more about history in this way. You could also see how Jacob's experiences changed him throughout the book which made following his journey more interesting and believable I'd definitely recommend this to fans of historical fiction, it brings out yet another aspect of World War II history that not everyone knows about.
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LibraryThing member sandra.k.heinzman
Excellent book! It's a novel, but felt so real, probably because it was based on true escapes from Auschwitz! This book is in my top five of 2014. Highly recommend it.
LibraryThing member CinderH
What a gripping book! The action and suspense never stop, but are not over done either. The story is compelling and makes me want to read the real accounts. I thought the ending seemed a teeny bit rushed to close up the loose ends, but still a fantastic read!
LibraryThing member crazybatcow
Holocaust story - very interesting, and as disturbing as expected. But not as dark and hopeless as some in this genre. OTOH, it had a sense of unbelievability - main character had a few too many "good luck" events, and the near misses involved required a lot of suspension of disbelief.
LibraryThing member lindarl
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading other books by Rosenberg. This was Rosenberg's first historical fiction book, but I hope, not his last. I'd like to see him write about the founding of Israel after WWII.
LibraryThing member nevans1972
A very inspiring holocaust story. To escape a prison like Auschwitz was no easy task, and to know that just one person was able to succeed is so inspiring, and that he was able to live a full life is wonderful.
LibraryThing member impactwriter
This book should be required reading for all high schoolers. The very idea that what happens in this book could be forgotten, even dismissed, by this generation is disturbing. The visuals created by the author about those interred at Auschwitz, along with the attempts made by people on the outside
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to protect Jewish lives, will be long-lived in my heart and mind.
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LibraryThing member lilibrarian
Jacob Weisz loses his entire family to the Nazis while still a teenager. Joining the resistance, he is accidently trapped on a train to Auschwitz and becomes a prisoner. Linking up with resistance members in the camp, he and several others engineer their escapes.
LibraryThing member Sarah_Gruwell
The author chose his story and did his research extremely well for this book. I was sucked into this story of survival against all odds and the plotting for escape until the last page. The author has a way of presenting his material that is suspenseful and keeps the reader on the edge of their
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seats. Perfect for this kind of story!

Research was also well done. The reader gets a real feel for the horrors of Auschwitz and the intensity of life under Nazi rule, both in Germany and Belgium. The author took the time to get the details right and really transport his readers. There are a few instances of historical inaccuracy, but for the most part, the author explains why he did what he did in the author’s notes. They are mostly for the ease of storytelling and aren't that glaring.

However, there are other aspects of the book that aren’t as well done or handled. Characterization is at the top of the pile. Characters are very three-dimensional, with many facts of each person explored. Yet, they seem to fall to either end of the spectrum, with nothing in between.

Luc seems too perfect, with no foibles to balance his rescuer characterization. And don’t get me started on Jacob! He’s a whiny, prejudiced brat who changes his mind on a whim, depending on who he just got done talking to. I don’t know if the author was trying to show the goodness of the Christians who did help in the Holocaust against the starkness of Auschwitz with Luc or if he was trying to make Jacob very human along with the courage to escape and tell the world of the Holocaust. But both of these leads to go the extreme end of the characterization spectrum and seem too good and too prat-ish to be real.

Then there are the Christian elements. Thankfully, they’re not of the preachy variety, which given the subject matter and setting is a God send (forgive the pun). But they are very definitely THERE, sometimes to the point of being in your face. Abundant uses of philosophical discussion, mutual Bible readings, and soul searching almost seems to take over the story at times, to the detriment of the intense escape/survival story.

With an intense story and great research, this book can stand as a good one in the WWII genre with which to while away an afternoon. Yet in-your-face Christian elements and characterization that makes you grit your teeth keep it from being a stellar work. Recommended for lovers of WWII fiction or Christian fiction, but be prepared for some irritation as well.
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LibraryThing member Beth.Clarke
This was okay. I really enjoyed parts of the novel but found myself skimming through parts that dragged. I've read a lot of WWII historical fiction novels, and this one didn't have the believability piece that I enjoy.
LibraryThing member sandra.k.heinzman
Excellent book! It's a novel, but felt so real, probably because it was based on true escapes from Auschwitz! This book is in my top five of 2014. Highly recommend it.



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