Lori Herold is the FUMC librarian. We recently asked her to review some of the books available in our church library. 

By Lori Herold
For the last few years, I have found myself reading several novels surrounding the Holocaust.

Reading these novels taught me forgotten history. Plus, they educated me of events of which I had no knowledge. They reminded me that there were more players than just Germans and Jews in the concentration camps. And, perhaps most compelling, they gave me a glimpse of intense human suffering at the hands of an evil agenda.

Our library carries the book The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg—one of my favorite Christian fiction authors—and we carry a couple of his non-fiction works, as well. Rosenberg, who now lives in Israel, has quite a resume and his books are best sellers. The son of a Jewish father and Gentile mother, Rosenburg is a deeply committed Christian with a charity that blesses Israel and her neighbors.

In The Auschwitz Escape, young Jacob gets caught up in a plot to rescue Jews from a train on its way to Poland. Against huge odds, he and a few others are able to rescue some, but in the process, Jacob gets trapped in one of the cattle cars. In Auschwitz, he meets Luc, a French pastor who was arrested for helping Jews. Their survival depends on a will to live and having friends they can trust. Jacob longs to escape, but when the word comes that half a million Hungarian Jews were to be shipped to Auschwitz, it becomes more than just about him and his friends. It became about warning Hungary and informing the world what was really happening in the camps. So unfolds a daring plan for Luc and Jacob to escape a place surrounded by an electrically-charged fence and where they are constantly under watch.

Because of the book’s title, it’s no spoiler alert to say they make it out of the camp, though you have to read the book to find out how. However, escape from the camp itself is only a first step toward freedom and letting the world know about Hitler’s true intentions. It is a page-turning, pulse-racing read right from the first page.

This book, like the others, has characters that fall into four categories. There are those who carry out Hitler’s plans, the victims of his plans, those who are disturbed but too afraid to do anything, and the ones who risk their lives helping the victims.

Are Holocaust novels pleasant to read? Of course not. Peering into evil and unspeakable suffering never is. I often wonder if one of the reasons people deny the Holocaust is because it forces us to acknowledge the evil of which human beings are capable. But even if we never suffer the same way those precious souls in the concentration camps did, novels like The Auschwitz Escape, pull us out of the zone of oblivion and give us a seat on the bleachers.