Scrapbookpages Blog

June 8, 2015

Recent escape from an American prison brings back memories of an escape from Auschitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am
This photo of the gate into the Auschwitz main camp accompanies the news story

This photo of the gate into the Auschwitz main camp accompanies a news story about prison escapes

A newspaper article about a recent prison escape in America, which you can read in full here has brought back memories of a daring escape from Auschwitz, pulled off by two prisoners, Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba, in April 1944.

The news article about the American prison escape included this quote about Wetzler and Vrba:

Alfréd Wetzler’s escape from Nazi death camp Auschwitz is possibly the most important prison escape in history.

Wetzler, a Slovakian jew, escaped from Auschwitz [Birkenau] with fellow inmate Rudolf Vrba in April 1944 by hiding in a wood pile that other inmates soaked with tobacco and gasoline to fool guard dogs.

After four nights hiding among the wood, the two men donned stolen suits and overcoats and began a 80 mile journey to the Polish border with Slovakia.

In his pockets, Wetzler carried a report on the inner workings of the death camp, including a ground plan, details of the gas chambers, and a label from a canister of Zyklon B – the gas that the Nazi’s used to kill millions of inmates. It was the first detailed report about Auschwitz that the Allies regarded as credible, and led to the bombing of buildings that housed Nazi officials who dealt with the railway deportations.

120,000 Hungarian Jews are said to have been saved as a result.

Rudolf Vrba (real name Alfred Rosenberg)

Rudolf Vrba (real name Alfred Rosenberg)

I wrote about Rudolf Vrba on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/rudolf-vrba/

Scroll down, in reading my previous post about Vrba; the part about him is near the end.

Before I knew anything about the Holocaust, I read a book about Vrba and his famous escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau. I was amazed by his stories of life in Auschwitz.  He was living such a good life there, that I couldn’t understand why he escaped.  His motive in leaving the good life at Birkenau was apparently that he wanted to tell the truth lies about Birkenau.

Child survivors marching out of the Birkenau death camp after it was liberated

Child survivors marching out of the Birkenau death camp after it was liberated

The photo above is a still shot from a film made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz about 4 weeks after the camp was liberated. The children in front are wearing adult uniforms. The children at Auschwitz did not wear uniforms. Look at the chubby cheeks of the children; how did that happen in a death camp?