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Book Review: Escape from Sobibor – Richard Rashke

Donna Brown1 comment878 views
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About Escape from Sobibor
Escape from SobiborPoignant in its honesty and grim in its details, Escape from Sobibor offers stunning proof of resistance – in this case successful – by victims of the Holocaust. The smallest of the extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany during World War II, Sobibor also was the scene of the war’s biggest prisoner escape. Richard Rashke’s interviews with eighteen of those who survived provide the foundation for this volume. He also draws on books, articles, and diaries to make vivid the camp, the uprising, and the escape. In the afterword to this reprint, Rashke relates how the Polish government in October 1993 observed the fiftieth anniversary of the escape and how it has beautified the site since a film based on his book appeared on Polish television.

Review: Escape from Sobibor

It’s extremely difficult to look at a book like Escape from Sobibor with a critical eye. The usual concerns of characterisation, plot, setting etc don’t come into play. These are facets that cannot be changed if the story is to be told accurately. Therefore, when I review a book like this I have two main considerations: 1) the quality of the writing, 2) the accuracy of the details.

Escape from Sobibor is related in a unique manner, almost as if it were a work of fiction. In this way we are introduced to the men and women whose stories form the basis of this incredible book. Richard Rashke has combined eye witness accounts with a wealth of research to provide a comprehensive account of life at Sobibor.

While I was impressed with Rashke’s narrative, attention to detail and obvious thorough reading and research, I was equally impressed by his respect for the Sobibor survivors and the lengths he went to to try and avoid causing additional distress (above and beyond the clear distress recounting their experiences caused). It is clear he came to care very much about the book but – more importantly – about the people behind the story.

Escape from Sobibor is an incredible book. It tells some of the stories that must be told, that must never be buried or forgotten. There are millions of stories from the victims of the Holocaust that go unheard. We must make all the more effort to honour the voices that could share. Rashke does this beautifully.

Verdict: 5/5

Source: Reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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