Coming soon from best-selling author Joel Rosenberg
LifeWay Christian Stores is currently pre-selling the next novel from best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. The Auschwitz Escape will be available on March 18. You can pre-buy the book for just $18.89 and receive a free copy of The Last Jihad (while supplies last). This is a great time to get introduced to Rosenberg’s novels!
Here’s a glimpse at The Auschwitz Escape:
A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans—especially Jews like Jacob and his family—are treated like dogs.
When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare—trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.
As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his “final solution” to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he’s not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi’s atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.
Tyndale House Publishers sent me an advanced copy of the novel a few weeks ago. What a special story this is. Going back to my teenage years, I’ve had an interest in the Holocaust and Eastern European history around World War II. Any book, especially any novel that is set during this time always grabs my attention. I’ve had the privilege to go to Auschwitz twice within the last few years so Rosenberg’s novel sparked my attention even more. There are many aspects of The Auschwitz Escape that I appreciated and will share a couple of them with you here.
First, Rosenberg’s description of this time in history sets a realistic backdrop for the novel. I found myself feeling the anxiety and desperation that the characters were facing as Hitler was marching across Europe and killing innocent people along the way. The depictions of Auschwitz brought up memories of standing in the roll call fields, being in a barrack, or praying in the silence of the crematorium during my trips to the concentration camp. It made the horrors of what happened in that corner of Poland and across other parts of Europe come to life for me.
Rosenberg does a beautiful job of taking the reader into different viewpoints of the Holocaust. Pastor Jean-Luc Leclerc is a humble Protestant who feels led to assist displaced Jews who wander into his small French town. There are powerful stories tucked away in the history of the War of Christians who sheltered Jews, many times at the risk of their own lives. This novel shows how people obeyed the Lord when they were faced with the choice to help God’s chosen people or to turn their eyes from what was happening. Midway through the novel, there is a powerful quote from Jean-Luc. Jacob Weisz, a fellow prisoner at Auschwitz, was questioning him why he risked his life to help Jews, especially when it landed him as a prisoner in the concentration camp. Jean-Luc simply said, “And anyway, if you ask me, the question shouldn’t be ‘Why are you, a Christian, here in a death camp, condemned for saving Jews?’ The real question is ‘Why aren’t all Christians here?’” That simple yet powerful question sums up Jean-Luc’s life and the obedience he had to live as God commanded him.
Young Jacob Weisz’s story is intriguing as well. Raised in a Jewish home, he knew enough about the Torah in order to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah but his parents never took the time to teach the ways of their people on a daily basis. I appreciated that Rosenberg’s main character was not a devoted Jew which provided a unique angle to the story. It was interesting to watch Jacob struggle with the start of the War, to question why these things were happening to Jews, and to come to understand the rich history of the Jewish nation as he met other people at Auschwitz. Jacob’s relationship with Jean-Luc also opens his eyes to a hope and a goodness that Christians have because of their relationship with Christ.
If you read testimonies from Holocaust survivors you’ll quickly pick up on the fierce determination they had to live. Many wanted to live in order to find their family and to return to their lives before the horrors of the Holocaust. But many wanted to survive so they could tell others about what was happening. That was Jacob and Jean-Luc’s goal. That is what gave them the drive and determination to live, to plan their escape, and to survive no matter the cost. They felt the burden to tell the world about how generations of God’s chosen people were being eliminated. The idea that maybe just one voice could be the one to make a difference drove them daily. Early in the novel, Jacob’s uncle Avi was pleading with fellow Jewish men when he said, “Please, I implore you: Let us hear the cries of our condemned brothers and sisters. Let us come to their rescue. Let us not waste another second doing something else. Is not this why God has spared our lives thus far?” I like to believe that speech from his beloved uncle stayed with Jacob as he spent countless dark days in Auschwitz.
The Auschwitz Escape is a powerful read that will leave you wondering what you might have done had you lived during this time. Would you have helped your Jewish neighbors? Would you have risked your own life to protect another? Would your faith in God have been strong enough to see you through on days where no hope was able to be found? We don’t have to be in 1940′s Europe to ponder those questions. Challenge yourself to plant your roots so firmly in God’s Word, His care, and His guidance so that no matter what you face or what He calls you to do, you will be prepared to answer His call on your life.