Posts filed under ‘I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp’

The Real Son Of Saul

I see that Son of Saul, the Hungarian film about a Jewish slave worker in Auschwitz is about to be released in the UK. I’m sure it will be a gruelling experience, but I am looking forward to seeing the film. This film is fictional, but my book I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp contains the real story of a Jewish slave worker in Belzec, one of the Operation Reinhard extermination factories. Rudolf Reder was the only post-war survivor of this hell hole, where 650,000 Jews and Gypsies were murdered. In 1946 he gave an account of his experiences to a Jewish Historical Commission which was gathering testimonies for use in future war crimes trials of the Nazis.  Reder’s witness statement, which runs to 40 pages, is a highly detailed, graphic and horrific account of what he saw and experienced. It is not easy to read the painful incidents that he recounts. When people ask me if I plan to make a film of the book, my response is that if the story were told truthfully, it would be the most painful horror film which would force all viewers to avert their eyes. So I am interested to see how the director in Son of Saul manages to show the unbelievable cruelties that occurred in Auschwitz  to innocent men, women and children.

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April 13, 2016 at 9:11 am 1 comment

A Review of I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

Rudolf Reder- Belzec Survivor and Witness

Rudolf Reder- Belzec Survivor and Witness


JC review I Survived

September 28, 2015 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE- I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

It’s taken a long time, but at last we are launching the new book:

BOOK LAUNCH

DEATH CAMP SURVIVOR’S STORY
LIVES ON OVER 70 YEARS LATER

Title: I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

Author: Rudolf Reder, with a memoir by Mark Forstater

Genre: Second World War/ The Holocaust

Publisher: Psychology News Press

ISBN: 978-090-763337-2

SRP: £8.99

Date of
Publication: 26th March 2015

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

TIME: 1942

PLACE: Belzec, occupied Poland

It was March 1942. The Second World War had been going on for already twoand a half years. Across Europe, there had been a continual rounding-up of communists, gypsies, Jews, homosexuals and other so-called ‘undesirables’ for even longer. The term ‘concentration camp’ had become a byword for the ruthless efficiency of the German Nazi machine.

But nothing could have prepared the world for the process that was about to get underway in South-East Poland. The concentration camp at Belzec was to become the very first Nazi death camp. This was the world that Rudolf Reder, a Polish Jew from the nearby town of Lvov, found himself thrust into.

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp is the harrowing and extraordinary story of the extermination camp at Belzec, Poland. Belzec is not an instantly recognisable name like Auschwitz or Dachau, and yet some 650,000 Jews and gypsies perished there in just a few months.

Numbers easily become blurs. Six million dead in the Holocaust – impossible to imagine. To give some grasp of reality: the number of those murdered in Belzec exceeds the number of people who live in Glasgow. It is more or less the number of football fans who go to Premier League matches every week; everyone at Old Trafford, the Emirates, Stamford Bridge, Anfield and more….. gassed to death……

One man, however – Rudolf Reder – escaped from Belzec and gave an account of the camp. Mark Forstater has tracked it down and it is the centrepiece of his book, a detailed and horrifying description of a truly dark death machine.

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp presents Reder’s account of everyday life and death in Belzec and his miraculous escape. Forstater explains how he found the story, why it matters – and why it matters to him.

Nearly every Jew and gypsy who ended up in Belzec died in the gas chambers within two hours of their arrival.

Reder managed to survive for four months for an ironic and macabre reason.He was an engineer and useful to the Nazis in and around the camp. Moreover, he was the only man with the skills needed to repair the tank engine which produced the lethal carbon monoxide gas that was responsible for the brutal deaths of so many. After four months of incarceration Reder was taken to visit his home town of Lvov nearby to collect spare parts for the camp. Fortuitously, three of his guards went for a drink and the fourth fell asleep in the truck. Reder seized his opportunity to escape and was hidden by his former housekeeper who he eventually went on to marry.

Mark Forstater introduces Reder’s account and adds a personal memoir. He tells how he learned about the Holocaust growing up in America and how, in his search for his Grandfather’s roots in Poland, he discovered Reder’s witness statement and through it the fate of his own long lost relatives.

With comparatively little known about Belzec, unlike the other two death camps in Eastern Poland at Sobibor and Treblinka, but with the enormity of the crimes committed there in mind, Forstater increasingly believed that Rudolf Reder’s story, harrowing though it is, should be heard in the outside world. And his own heart-rending reflections, brought to life in his engaging and poignant memoir, go a long way to helping square the circle and humanise what is a story of dehumanisation.

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp is an important addition to the literature of the Holocaust.

Mark Forstater is best known for his work as a film producer on some thirty films, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He is also an author, having published books on philosophy and spirituality that include The Spiritual Teachings of Yoga, The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius, The Spiritual Teachings of the Tao, The Spiritual Teachings of Seneca and The Living Wisdom of Socrates.

An American originally from Philadelphia, Mark lives in London. He has been married twice, has four daughters and three grandsons.

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp is published by Psychology News Press and is available at £8.99 from reputable bookshops, online at http://www.amazon.co.uk , from the dedicated website http://www.isurvived.org.uk/ or direct from the publisher at http://www.psychologynews.org.uk .

For further information please contact: Nigel Passingham
+44 7795 02 42 72

Nigelpas@live.com

February 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

My Glorious Publishing Career Part 1

I have now made all of my books into ebooks, so it’s a good time to look back and reflect on my illustrious publishing career. It’s been an interesting ride so far, and I hope it continues. Book six is about to come out, and I think it’s going to be a bit of a breakthrough.

For the record, my first 5 books are: The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius, The Spiritual Teachings of Seneca, The Spiritual Teachings of the Tao, The Spiritual Teachings of Yoga and The Living Wisdom of Socrates. The new one is called I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp and is coming out in September.

I started writing by accident. In 1997 I thought it would be a great thing to make an audio of The Tao Te Ching, the 2300 year old Chinese Taoist classic. And one day it just happened. I visited Martin Palmer in Manchester and told him this was a book I would love to record. He told me that he made religious programmes for the BBC and maybe he could arrange a recording studio. But who would read it? I hadn’t thought that far ahead, so I needed to think about good actors who could handle the text. Ideally I hoped to find someone who knew the book, but failing that, I needed someone sensitive to ideas and feelings. I settled on the late Nigel Hawthorne, who didn’t know the work but threw himself into the project with great enthusiasm. He did a remarkable job, responding very well to Martin’s directions regarding the meaning of the sometimes inscrutable text. Once we added music to Nigel’s voice, we had a very fine recording of the classic.

I now needed distribution to get the audio (it was a cassette at that time) into shops. Someone introduced me to Rupert Lancaster at Hodder and Stoughton and after he listened to the tape he offered me a deal. A year later, he rang to ask if I had any other audio ideas. It just so happened I did (or at least I did once he put the idea into my mind). I gave Rupert four ideas and he responded best to the notion of recording The Meditations Of Marcus Aurelius.

To be continued (possibly).

August 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

Honouring your ancestors means honouring yourself

Yesterday I was reading the Taoist Chuang Tzu and came across this line,

“In the ancestor shrine it is kinship which brings honour.”

In the past I wouldn’t have been struck by this line. After all, we don’t practise ancestor worship in the way that the ancient Chinese did, and we don’t have shrines to our ancestors. But this time I stopped at this line, and thought about it.  Chuang Tzu (or whoever was writing Chapter 13 of the book that bears his name)  says that at the shrine it is kinship that brings honour.  The relationship and communication we are dealing with here is between the living and the dead of the same family: that is kinship. But where does the honour come in?

It’s obvious that praying at the shrine means honouring your ancestors. You give or embody honour outwards to them. That is an expression of your honour. But doesn’t honour function very much like anger. When we are angry at someone we project our anger out at them. But really the anger affects us much more than it does them. The anger stays in our body, riles up our emotions, give us stress, and hurts us more than it does the object of our anger.

I think that honour works the same way. We project honour out, but in fact we feel that honour in our mind and body. It must affect the living more than it does the dead. After all, they are dead! When we honour our ancestors, we are in fact conveying honour to ourselves, we are creating honour internally.

Why have I thought about this?  Well, I just finished writing a book that is partly about my ancestors, and writing the book helped me to create a mental bridge to them, so that I felt closer to them than ever before. I also dedicated the book to my grandparents, and really wrote it for my grandfather Chiel Forstater, who died many years ago.

There is something to be said for honouring your ancestors. It’s a good thing, and I feel better for having done it. Does it give me honour? It certainly makes me feel good about myself.  Maybe that is the honour that Chuang Tzu meant.

June 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm 2 comments

I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp – The Campaign Begins

When you publish a book either by yourself or with a small publisher (mine is David Cohen of Psychology News Press) you are faced with the uphill struggle of getting your book in front of people. Without a marketing and PR budget it really is a daunting task to get your book noticed. How will anyone know it exists?

So we (myself, David and PR wizard Nigel Passingham) devised a plan to make the book visible. Whether we succeed or not you will be able to judge in the next few months. Ours is a slow-burn campaign, starting small and hopefully not shrinking from that point. We decided to start in the UK, where we are based, and where we hope to be able to shift the 750 paperback copies that Biddles printed for us (just before they went bust).

We are starting with an email campaign which I initiated today. I used Mailchimp and sent it to the 1500 people in my address book. So far about 1/3rd opened it, and we have had 43 clicks ( I assume that means possible buyers). However a number of people complained that the image in the email was altered and some of the text garbled. Why ? I have no idea so have asked Mailchimp to explain. So I plan to send a text only email tomorrow so that at least everyone will be aware of the title of the book.

I have started to email bookshops

I have started to email bookshops

 

We are trying to get one of the daily papers to do a serialisation, and will be approaching the Jewish Chronicle to see if they want to interview me. After that we hope to get a review or three and coverage of the book online, on radio and in papers. We are feeling our way, expecting some feedback, which will give us a hint as to how to promote and market the book. If we can get a bit of buzz going, and sell the first print run, then we would hope to be able to sell some International rights, and hopefully find a US publisher.  I suppose the book’s ideal selling time will be at next year’s Holocaust Memorial days

There is also a very good audio of the book which I produced. It is read by David Suchet  ( and moi) and is available on Audible.co.uk. This could also be a radio programme.

Since I went into this project as a memorial to my grandfather, I am not expecting to make money from it. But my publisher has spent some, and I’d like to make sure he doesn’t lose out. Besides, I am very proud of the book , and know that it is a good and worthwhile read, so I have no problem in promoting it.

June 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

When Did You First Learn about the Holocaust?

A friend of mine read the manuscript of my new book, I Survived A Nazi Extermination Camp, and said that three things struck him most forcefully. One was the sheer grimness of Rudolf Reder’s first hand account of the death factory that was Belzec. He couldn’t understand why the Nazis felt it necessary to so degrade and dehumanise the people that they were about to kill. They planned to kill them, they knew the victims would be dead in a couple of hours, and yet they had the need to make these last hours as unpleasant and gruesome as possible. The level of cruelty really shocked him. Secondly, he hadn’t realised that the Nazis knew that their action in killing the Jews was a totally criminal activity, and that they had made so many efforts to hide and obliterate the evidence of these atrocities. He thought that they would cover this with ideology, but in fact it was clear they knew themselves to be practising criminality on a grand scale, a crime against humanity. Finally, the book reminded him about when he had first heard about the Holocaust, and the first book he read about it. He recognised one of the photos in my book, one of women prisoners running naked through a concentration camp, watched by uniformed SS guards. I’m sure many people must have a strong memory of when and where they first learned about this atrocity. I was quite young, maybe 5 or 6, when I became aware that ‘Hitler killed 6 million Jews’. How he killed them I did not know at the time, and the word Holocaust was not then in common use, although I was aware that there had been concentrations camp where Jews were gassed to death.

March 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm 2 comments

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