Escaping Hell in Treblinka
By Israel Cymlich & Oskar Strawczynski
Yad Vashem Jerusalem
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
282 pages, Illustrated
$27.50 Paper original
Escaping Hell in Treblinka presents for the first time in English two remarkable dcouments written by two survivors of that hellish darkness.l Israel (Srul) Cymlich and Oskar Strawczynski. Both memoirs were written while the authors were still in hiding, unsure if they would succeed in evading the Nazis. Srul Cymlich's memoir is one of a handful of Jewish accounts of the Treblinka I forced labor camp.
It provides a rare insight into the brutal daily life he and other inmates endured. Srul escaped in April 1943, just before he was due to be transferred to and murdered in the Treblinka II extermination camp. Oskar Stawczynski's memoir is one of the earliest written eyewitness accounts of the August 2, 1943 uprising in Treblinka. Strawczynski tells of Jewish camp officials' cruel treatment of their fellow Jewish prisoners; the viciousness of the German staff; preparations for the uprising, and life after the mass escape of the camp. Both men owed their survival and the opportunity to write their stories to their own daring and initiative as well as to the assistance they received from a variety of people, including Polish rescuers.
Each wrote in order to tell his tale to the world and to his surviving family members, but at the time of writing neither author knew if he would survive,or if his account would ever be read by anyone.
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