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Thursday July 7 2022, 6pm BST

Jonathan Freedland on the Man Who Escaped Auschwitz to Warn the World

In April 1944 nineteen-year-old Rudolf Vrba and fellow inmate Fred Wetzler became the first Jews ever to break out of Auschwitz. Under electrified fences and past armed watchtowers, evading thousands of SS men and slavering dogs, they trekked across marshlands, mountains and rivers to freedom. Vrba’s mission was to reveal to the world the truth of the Holocaust, a truth too few were willing to hear.

Now Jonathan Freedland, journalist, broadcaster and multi-million-copy bestselling author, has told the story of Vrba in his new book The Escape Artist and on July 7 he comes to Intelligence Squared to recount this tale of extraordinary courage and heroism.

As Freedland will relate, in the death factory of Auschwitz Vrba had become an eyewitness to almost every chilling stage of the Nazis’ process of industrialised murder. The more he saw, the more determined he became to warn the Jews of Europe what fate awaited them. A brilliant student of science and mathematics, he committed each detail to memory, risking everything to collect the first data of the Final Solution. After his escape, that information would form a priceless thirty-two-page report that would reach Roosevelt, Churchill and the pope and eventually save over 200,000 lives.

But Vrba’s escape from Auschwitz was not his last. After the war, he kept running – from his past, from his home country, from his adopted country, even from his own name. Few knew of the truly extraordinary deed he had done.

Join us to hear an extraordinary adventure story – one that also raises profound questions for our own times about truth and lies, and who gets to be believed and who does not.

Praise for Jonathan Freedland’s The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World.

A brilliant and heart-wrenching book, with universal and timely lessons about the power of information – and misinformation’ – Yuval Noah Harari

A magnificent book. I could scarcely breathe at some points. What a tribute to its extraordinary hero, and it’s such an important and necessary story to read . . . I can’t praise it too highly. What an achievement’ – Philip Pullman

‘An immediate classic of Holocaust literature. Superbly researched and written, it is both a gripping story and deeply moving, I literally could not put it down’ – Antony Beevor

Immersive, shattering, and, ultimately redemptive book . . . An epic of terror and endurance . . . Written with Freedland’s page-turning, gripping, hard-edged immediacy, The Escape Artist is profound in thought, boundless in humanity, an immediate modern classic’ – Simon Schama

‘Awe inspiring, exciting and poignant, this is a thrilling read, a piece of redemptive storytelling and a work of important Holocaust historical research: Freedland has given Rudolf Vrba his rightful place in history – and in the process written a book that I couldn’t put down’ – Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Escape Artist is marvellous. It is original, meticulous and utterly compelling – and ultimately a deeply tragic tale’ – Philippe Sands

A must-read stand out piece of history . . . This is Freedland at his finest . . . It is both a celebration of the extraordinary will, courage and resilience of the hero -– Rudi Vrba – and an all too prescient warning of how hard it is to wake up the world to things it would prefer not to see’ – Emily Maitlis

Book Bundles (UK ONLY)

Book bundles include one ticket for the online debate, plus a copy of
The Escape Artist
by Jonathan Freedland  with free UK P&P. Books will be posted within 1-2 weeks of the event finishing. Click here to purchase a book bundle.

Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (Hardback)

 

Event Name

Jonathan Freedland on the Man Who Escaped Auschwitz to Warn the World


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Speaker
  • Jonathan Freedland

    Journalist, broadcaster and author of The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

Chair
  • Manveen Rana

    Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times


Location
  • Online event
Time
  • Thursday 7 July 2022
  • 6pm to 7pm BST



Speakers

Speaker

Jonathan Freedland

Journalist, broadcaster and author of The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World


Guardian columnist and former foreign correspondent. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series, The Long View, as well as two podcasts, Politics Weekly America for the Guardian and Unholy, alongside the Israeli journalist Yonit Levi. He is a past winner of an Orwell Prize for journalism. He is the author of twelve books, the latest being The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World. He has written nine thrillers, mostly as Sam Bourne, including The Righteous Men, which was a Sunday Times number one bestseller.
Chair

Manveen Rana

Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times


Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times. She was previously a broadcaster and reporter for BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme and The World at One.