Posts tagged ‘nazi’

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

Advertisements

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

CrowdFunding the New Freud Film

Writer-director David Cohen and I (with the massive help of Richard Cobelli) have just launched an Indiegogo page to help fund The Escape Of Sigmund Freud. We uploaded two videos- the first a pitch video in which David and I sat in his conservatory and talked about the film and how much we wanted to raise (£ 300,000 out of a million pound budget), and the second a short teaser trailer in which actor John Kay Steel plays Anton Sauerwald, the Nazi who was meant to make Freud’s life hell, and instead helped him to escape Vienna.

It’s a remarkable true story, and we feel very good about it. We have a solid script and the excellent David Suchet to play Freud. We hope to cast other fine British actors (and one German to play Sauerwald). Shooting will take place in London, Poland and Vienna in the early part of 2015. 

I believe that the film has the potential to be a very powerful story about the Shoah (the holocaust). It’s an unusual story in that the ‘good Nazi’ who helped the Freuds was in fact a dedicated follower of Hitler. He was not putting on his belief in the Nazi regime and the Fuhrer, but believed deeply in the Nazi ideology, This is what makes the story so fascinating. Why did this deep-dyed Nazi go out of his way (and in fact risk his career and life) to help the Freuds?  He couldn’t explain his actions, and what is even more telling, Freud himself had no idea why he did it. This is the mystery at the heart of the film.

A strange friendship grew up between these two unlikely buddies. What always astounds me is the fact that Sauerwald made a trip to London in 1939, just before the war broke out, to see how Freud was settling in, and to check that all the art works he had helped pack and ship actually arrived in good condition.  On this occasion Freud was recovering from an operation for cancer of the jaw (an illness he had for many years)  and he asked Sauerwald if he would drive Freud’s Viennese surgeon to London to do a remedial operation.  And he did.

Please take a few moments to visit the Indiegogo site, and if you would like to see this film come into existence, then make a contribution – big or small – and help us to get it made. Whether you contribute or not, could you take 5 minutes and share the information with anyone who you think would find it of interest.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-escape-of-sigmund-freud/x/7931764

June 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm 1 comment

Standing On Others’ Shoulders – Part 1- (don’t hold your breath for Part 2)

I think it’s time that I started standing on my own creative feet and stop standing on the shoulders of others. In my case that means old philosophers – both east and west.  My first 5 books were all about philosophies or philosophers: Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Taoism, Yoga and Socrates. I explained the ideas behind the philosophy, followed by key texts I had referred to.

My latest book – I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp – is entirely different. The first part of the new book is a short introduction to  the little known but infamous Nazi death camp called Belzec. In this isolated, forested camp in SE Poland,  the Nazis killed an estimated 650,00 Jews and Gypsies.  The time between arrival by freight train to death in a gas chamber was only two hours. Rudolf Reder, a Polish Jew, managed to stay alive for four months as a worker in the camp, before making a miraculous escape. By the end of the war, Reder was the only survivor of the camp, and he gave a Witness Statement recounting his experiences.

It is this Witness Statement of Reder’s that forms part two of the book. He recounts the horrific, pathetic and harrowing events that took place in Belzec, and the cruel and criminal acts of the Nazi and Ukrainian guards.  It is a difficult account to read – one man recounting the hell that the Nazis’ madness had created, and which he saw first-hand.

Part three is an account by me ( a kind of memoir ) about how and why I came across this Statement of Reder’s. It’s partly about my family and partly about my relationship to the holocaust, and its victims.  A few years ago, I decided to search for my Grandparents’ roots online via JewishGen which led me to discover hundreds of ancestors. This search ultimately led me to Lublin, and it was on a visit to the Majdanek Concentration Camp that I found Reder’s Statement. At the same time I learned the fate of my grandfather’s family – those who he left behind had been sent from their homes in Lublin to be killed in Belzec .

How is this book different to the other 5? Of course it’s much more personal. I am not writing about dead philosophers but about the terrible fate of my own (newly discovered) family. It’s about history, but told in a personal way. I’ve set out my reflections on what I was learning, and my own memories were part of this discovery.   Obviously I am not a survivor of the camps and no known relative of mine had been one either. We were Americans, not Europeans. All my grandparents emigrated to the USA in the early 1900s, and my parents and all of our family had been born in America. Growing up, I never realised that my grandparents had left family behind – parents, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. It is the fate of those family members that my search revealed, and my memoir reflects how I came to terms with this dark knowledge.

June 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

My New Audio- I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

I learned today that my audio of I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp is now online at Audible.com. It’s taken quite a long time to get the audio uploaded and the reasons are many.

In the beginning I decided to call the audio (and book) Testament, and I prepared artwork and recorded the audio with that title. However my book publisher- the inestimable David Cohen of Psychology News Press – thought that Testament was not a strong enough title. I agreed, and went in to the studio to record the new title- I Survived a Nazi Death Camp.

When it came time to look at possible covers for the book, I went to Hatchards bookstore in London to look at their history section. My friend Ruth came with me to help.After looking at some of the books on display, she suggested that even my new title wasn’t strong enough to lift my book out of the huge mass of WW2 books published every year. Her proposed solution  – rewrite the title as I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp.

I agreed with her for two reasons. Firstly, the camp in question – Belzec – was a secret camp, both for the Nazis who wanted to keep its existence unknown to the outside world, and it is still unknown today, unlike the sister camps of Treblinka and Sobibor, which many people have heard of. The reason Belzec is still so little known is that there was only one survivor of that death factory – Rudolf Reder- and it is his story that forms the basis of the audio.

And it was an extermination camp, not a death camp. In the Nazi concentration camps death was a constant, but it was in the extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka that the Nazis put into effect the industrial killing of Europe’s Jewish population. Victims arriving at these camps by train survived for no longer than 2 hours before being inhumanly gassed.

So having made the last title decision, I went back to the studio at Heavy Entertainment and re-recorded the new title. Now I am waiting for the book to be printed and we will be able to launch it with our non-existent publicity budget. Still, I am proud of the book and audio, and I believe it is not only a good book, but one which has an original take on the holocaust. Really, I wrote the book for my grandfather, and since he died in the 1970s other people will have to read it and listen to the audio to bring the story to life.

October 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

That’s the title of my new book. It didn’t happen to me, I wasn’t even born when Rudolf Reder lived through those terrible times. He was the only post-war survivor of a death camp in Poland called Belzec. Most people have never heard of it, but in just 18 months 700,000 people (almost all Jews) died there. We only know what happened in this death factory because Reder managed an incredible escape, and after the war told his story to a Jewish Historical Commission in Cracow who were trying to gather evidence against the Nazi criminals.

The victims who arrived by freight train to Belzec were killed in the gas chambers within two hours. The Nazi system processed these people like cargo. The only people who survived longer were Jews who were selected to work at the camp, and they only lasted a few months at most. Reder lasted for 4 months because he was an engineer and could fix the tank engine which produced the carbon monoxide which was the killer gas.

I found out about Belzec and Reder’s story when I made a trip to Lublin in Eastern Poland to research my Granfdfather’s roots. While I was there I visited Majdanek Concentration Camp and there I found a slim book called Belzec which contained Reder’s witness statement. My young Polish guides explained to me that Belzec was where the Jews from Lublin were sent to die, so it is very likely that some of my relatives were killed there. I never knew that I had relatives killed in the Holocaust until I made this trip. 

Now I am waiting for the book to come out, and I need to find ways to make it known to potential readers. We are starting first in the UK (I live in London) and hope that if we can make a bit of a splash that we can find a publisher in the US. An ebook will follow in a few months.

I decided that Reder’s statement was so strong and powerful that I needed to make it more widely known. So I decided to make an audio out of it (soon to be on Audible) and wrote an account about how I found the text.  

October 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm 5 comments


The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

Categories