Film Review: The Auschwitz Escape

Freddy and Valér in hiding

The Holocaust was undoubtedly the lowest point in modern European history. Hitler’s ‘final solution’ was an abomination which is hard to comprehend in the early twenty-first century. An inherently evil act of sheer callousness and hatred. To the shame of the Allies, it took heroic acts of bravery to expose the full extent of the true horror to the world. The Vrba–Wetzler report played a huge part in highlighting these atrocities. This true story is dramatized in The Auschwitz Escape (aka The Auschwitz Report).

Rudolf Vrba (Peter Ondrejicka) and Alfréd Wetzler (Noel Czuczor) are two young Slav Jews who are prisoners in Auschwitz. Along with the camp underground they have been compiling detailed reports of the atrocities taking place in the concentration camps. In April 1944, three weeks after the invasion of Hungary, they manage to escape. Whilst their inmates are punished for keeping their silence, the two men must make the dangerous journey across land to the border.

The Slovakian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Academy Awards focuses on the sacrifices made by many to expose the German attempts to cover up their program of ethnic cleansing. The fact that the true magnitude of the Holocaust was unknown or supressed during much the war is often lost in history. Forming a major part of the Auschwitz Protocols, the Vrba–Wetzler report was instrumental in exposing the Nazis’ crimes. Peter Bebjak’s film catches this in dark pastels, using an array of inventive camera angles and memorable shots to bring the stark reality to life. The Auschwitz Escape documents this act of resistance which culminated in saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Auschwitz Escape is released on Digital Platforms on 14 May & DVD on 24 May

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