Last Stop Auschwitz opening lines: How far is it to those hazy blue mountains? How wide is the plain that stretches out in the radiant spring sunshine?
Eddy de Wind volunteered to go to Westerbork labour camp in exchange for his parents not being sent to Auschwitz. He learnt, once they were sent, that bargains could not be made. And he would have to put all of his mental and physical strength into surviving Hell on Earth. This is a love story of hope and life. And what liberation looked like from inside the camp.
Last Stop Auschwitz
Eddy de Wind, a Dutch doctor and psychiatrist, was shipped to Auschwitz with his wife Friedel, whom he had met and married at the Westerbork labour camp in the Netherlands. At Auschwitz, they made it through the brutal selection process and were put to work. Each day, each hour became a battle for survival.For Eddy, this meant negotiating with the volatile guards in the medical barracks. For Friedel, it meant avoiding the Nazis’ barbaric medical experiments. As the end of the war approached and the Russian Army drew closer, the last Nazis fled, taking many prisoners with them, including Friedel. Eddy hid under a pile of old clothes and stayed behind. Finding a notebook and pencil, he began to write with furious energy about his experiences.
I put off reading this book during hard lockdown as I thought it would be too emotionally draining. But it was totally the opposite. A factual account written after liberation in Auschwitz brings a whole new dimension to the Holocaust. If like me you want to know as much as you can about this horror, then add this book to your collection of ones to read.
Last Stop Auschwitz is an extraordinary account of life as a prisoner, a near real-time record of the daily struggle to survive but also of the flickering moments of joy Eddy and Friedel found in each other – passing notes through the fence, sometimes stealing a brief embrace. Documenting the best and the worst of humanity, it is a unique and timeless story that reminds us of what we as humans are capable of, but that there is hope, even in Hell. Thought to be the only complete book written within Auschwitz itself, it will linger with you long after the final page has been turned.
Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Random House South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.