Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust

Written by Jack J Hersch
Review by Edward James

Although Death March Escape is a true-life story, it is structured like many historical novels in two time streams. The ‘historic’ stream concerns the author’s father, his ten months in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, and his escape from the Death March in April 1945, when the camp was evacuated. It is narrated largely as the father told it to his son in 2001, shortly before his death. The ‘modern’ time stream follows the author’s visit to Austria in 2007, to see the places where his father suffered and to better understand what happened.

Unusually, the modern time stream is even more interesting than the eventful historic stream. We discover not only how the concentration camps are remembered in the localities where they once stood, but we share the author’s voyage of self-discovery, reassessing his relationship with his late father and his own attitudes to history, life and everything.

Although the author’s father was Jewish, and the book is sub-titled The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust, he was one of the few Jewish prisoners at Mauthausen. The concentration camps were a vast murder machine which claimed millions of victims, Jews and non-Jews.