Samson: A Saviour will Rise
The opening scene of a man being flayed alive may shock religious fiction fans unaccustomed to graphic violence. Samson Abrams is a Jewish boxing champion in Auschwitz, kept from the gas chambers by Commander Höss so that his fights can provide entertainment for the German soldiers. Despite losing family members by horrific means, Samson is sustained by the example of fellow inmate Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest sent to the camps along with the Jews he aided. When Samson’s boxing victories start giving hope to the prisoners, Dr. Mengele is determined to end the contests, even to the point of meeting Samson in the ring himself.
Characterization takes a back seat to action in this story, and the setting means readers will encounter some truly repellent violence. Numerous interjections like “Crack!” and “Bang!” evoke a graphic novel style. Hoffman wrote the story as a screenplay and then adapted it into this novel. In a postscript he says the story was based on real events, and provides footnotes for those wishing to read more. Readers with strong stomachs will experience the Holocaust from an unusual perspective.