Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke

Escape from Sobi­bor by Richard Rashke is a non-fiction book which details the biggest escape from a Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camp in Poland dur­ing World War II.  The book was first pub­lished in 1982 and won acclaim world wide.Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke is an excit­ing his­tory book, told as a novel. The book is divided into three sec­tions which intro­duce the peo­ple, tell about the escape from a top secret Nazi death camp, and the after war years. 

Mr. Rashke knows that the strength of any book, non-fiction or oth­er­wise, is the per­sonal sto­ries which make up the big pic­ture, and does a great job intro­duc­ing us to them. The peo­ple which the author chose to focus on were non-military Jews and a Russ­ian offi­cer, some were pulled out of the lines for the gas cham­bers due to spe­cial skills and some just by pure luck.

The author engages the reader from the start with per­sonal pre-war sto­ries. This is not just a his­tory book about the escape itself, but about peo­ple we care about and the heart wrench­ing deci­sion they had to make in order to survive.

The cru­elty and bar­bar­ity of the Nazis is also talked about, con­trasted by the strength of char­ac­ter of the pris­on­ers, as well as their men­tal anguish. Unfor­tu­nately, many of the Nazi crim­i­nals were never pun­ished for the their actions and brutality.

Once the pris­on­ers escaped, the author details their strug­gle to sur­vive in a hos­tile envi­ron­ment, either hid­ing from the Nazis, being take advan­tage of by the local pop­u­la­tion or the par­ti­sans. Some of the escapees hap­pened upon brave peo­ple who helped them, some were not so lucky.

Some of the sur­vivors were still liv­ing at the time the book was pub­lished, a few even took up arms and went back to fight the Nazis. This book has many themes about sur­vival, free­dom and more.

A must read for any his­tory buff or World War II enthu­si­ast. This mov­ing book might be grim, it is also inspir­ing and vividly recounts an event which most of the world has never known before it was published.

Originally published as  Book Review: Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke on

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