Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust

Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust

by Jack J Hersch
Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust

Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust

by Jack J Hersch


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In June 1944, the Nazis locked eighteen-year-old Dave Hersch into a railroad boxcar and shipped him from his hometown of Dej, Hungary, to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, the harshest, cruellest camp in the Reich. After ten months in the granite mines of Mauthausen’s nearby sub-camp, Gusen, he weighed less than 80lbs, nothing but skin and bones.

Somehow surviving the relentless horrors of these two brutal camps, as Allied forces drew near Dave was forced to join a death march to Gunskirchen Concentration Camp, over thirty miles away. Soon after the start of the march, and more dead than alive, Dave summoned a burst of energy he did not know he had and escaped. Quickly recaptured, he managed to avoid being killed by the guards. Put on another death march a few days later, he achieved the impossible: he escaped again.

Dave often told his story of survival and escape, and his son, Jack, thought he knew it well. But years after his father’s death, he came across a photograph of his father on, of all places, the Mauthausen Memorial’s website. It was an image he had never seen before – and it propelled him on an intensely personal journey of discovery.

Using only his father’s words for guidance, Jack takes us along as he flies to Europe to learn the secrets behind the photograph, secrets his father never told of his time in the camps. Beginning in the verdant hills of his father’s Hungarian hometown, we travel with Jack to the foreboding rock mines of Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps, to the dust-choked roads and intersections of the death marches, and, finally, to the makeshift hiding places of his father’s rescuers. We accompany Jack’s every step as he describes the unimaginable: what his father must have seen and felt while struggling to survive in the most abominable places on earth.

In a warm and emotionally engaging story, Jack digs deeply into both his father’s life and his own, revisiting – and reflecting on – his father’s time at the hands of the Nazis during the last year of the Second World War, when more than mere survival was at stake – the fate of humanity itself hung in the balance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526740229
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 01/11/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jack Hersch is a journalist and expert in the field of distressed and bankrupt companies. He has served as a public company board member, and has guest-lectured in the business schools of M.I.T., U.S.C., and U.C. Berkeley, among others. "The Dangers of Automation in Airliners" is his second book, following “Death March Escape” winner of the 2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Human Writes Award. He and his wife live in New York City.

Table of Contents

List of Plates ix

Foreword xi

Part I Dej

Chapter 1 Lufthansa 3

Chapter 2 Cousin Vivi 5

Chapter 3 Dad 9

Chapter 4 Realization 11

Chapter 5 Mauthausen Memorial 13

Chapter 6 That Picture 17

Chapter 7 Me 25

Chapter 8 Pre-war Dej 29

Chapter 9 Passover 2001 33

Chapter 10 The Nazis Arrive 39

Chapter 11 The Ghetto 43

Chapter 12 The Friedmann Home 47

Chapter 13 65th Infantry Division: 5,217 Miles Away 51

Part II KZ Mauthausen

Chapter 14 Arrival 55

Chapter 15 Deportation 57

Chapter 16 Angelika 63

Chapter 17 Roadside 67

Chapter 18 The Mauthausen Camp System 69

Chapter 19 Not So Terrible 73

Chapter 20 Birkenau Selection 77

Chapter 21 Sanitary Camp 85

Chapter 22 Normandy, France: D-Day: 679 Miles Away 89

Chapter 23 Wall Plaques 91

Chapter 24 Parachutists 95

Chapter 25 Arrival in Mauthausen 99

Chapter 26 More than Luck 103

Chapter 27 Gusen II 107

Chapter 28 Gusen I 109

Chapter 29 A Day in the Camps 113

Chapter 30 Gusen Memorial 117

Chapter 31 Latrine Kommando 123

Chapter 32 Third Army Takes the Field, 658 Miles Away 127

Chapter 33 Closest Call 129

Chapter 34 Walking Gusen I 131

Chapter 35 Stone Crusher 135

Chapter 36 Out of Gas, 384 Miles Away 139

Chapter 37 Yom Kippur 1944 141

Chapter 38 Jourhaus 147

Chapter 39 Suicide 151

Chapter 40 Bahnhof Section 155

Chapter 41 Soup 161

Chapter 42 Westwall, 359 Miles Away 165

Chapter 43 Back in KZ Mauthausen 167

Chapter 44 The Bulge: 300 Miles Away 169

Chapter 45 Recharge 171

Part III Enns

Chapter 46 Inbound 'Transports' 179

Chapter 47 First Escape 183

Chapter 48 Eggs and Butter 189

Chapter 49 Intersection 193

Chapter 50 Gendarmerie 199

Chapter 51 The 261st Regiment of the 65th Infantry Division; 241 Miles Away 205

Chapter 52 The Great Escape 207

Chapter 53 57 Kristein 217

Chapter 54 The Sugar Factory 219

Chapter 55 261st Regiment of the 65th Infantry Division: 156 Miles Away 223

Chapter 56 The Little Path 225

Chapter 57 Excuse 229

Chapter 58 The House 233

Chapter 59 Lost 237

Chapter 60 The Fields 241

Chapter 61 The Stream 247

Chapter 62 261st Infantry Regiment. 121 Miles Away 249

Chapter 63 Miracle 251

Chapter 64 261st Infantry Regiment. 11 Miles Away 257

Chapter 65 How 259

Chapter 66 Why 263

Chapter 67 Found 267

Epilogue 273

Author's Note 275

Index 277

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