Treblinka Survivor is based on a 22-page document by Hershl Sperling. At the age of 15, Sperling was shoved into a railroad car and sent to the Nazi death camp. His family, along with 800,000 other Jews who stumbled through Treblinka’s gates, were slaughtered. Sperling was one of the lucky few who escaped, to be shuttled from one concentration camp to another. He described them as “summer camps” in comparison with Treblinka.
Sperling’s stark description of unspeakable events is filled out by the author in a superb and horrifying account. Smith’s account of the destruction of Treblinka by Sperling and his fellow prisoners is a high point. Nearly all of the prisoners died, but they rose against inhumane captors instead of dying passively. That gesture of defiance makes Treblinka Survivor a must-read. So does the tacit warning – we cannot let another Holocaust happen.