Impossible Escape: A True Story of Survival and Heroism in Nazi ­Europe

Roaring Brook. Aug. 2023. 256p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250265722.
Gr 8 Up–Sheinken has penned another must-read with this powerful and harrowing account of childhood friends Rudolf Vrba and Gerta Sidonová, Slovakian Jewish teens who not only survived the Holocaust but fought back against the Nazis. In 1942, when their government announced that Jews were to be deported to “work camps,” Rudi was determined not to go and ran away to try to make it to England. He was captured at the Hungarian border and sent to Auschwitz. Due to his age and health, he was spared the gas chambers and sent to work. With cunning, determination, and good luck, he managed to survive, but never stopped thinking about escape. In April 1944, Vrba and friend Alfred Wetzler made an astonishing escape—even though they were near starvation, they walked to Slovakia with a goal to tell the world what was happening in the camps. Their account became known as the Vrba-Wetzler report, which compelled President Roosevelt to intervene with the Hungarian authorities, credited with saving over 200,000 lives. Paralleling Rudi’s story, readers learn how Sidonová and her family hid with relatives in Hungary, and her later work with a Hungarian resistance. Sheinkin’s unflinching account of the torturous conditions in Auschwitz is chilling and unimaginable, and the escape is heart pounding. This is all expertly interwoven with informative background information making for an absorbing page-turner. This book is well documented with extensive source notes, bibliography, and index; it also includes two diagrams of the camp and black-and-white photos.
VERDICT Thoroughly researched with exceptional writing, this riveting narrative is an important addition to Holocaust literature. Highly recommended for all libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing