Like "Schindler's List", this book distils the monumental brutality of the holocaust into the experiences of real-life individuals. It tells the story of Miklos Hammer, a Hungarian Jew, and his fight to survive a journey into the heart of Nazi ...
darkness. This journey takes him through four death camps, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau, until a chance meeting with an Englishman leads him into a new and unexpected form of oppression. Born in Budapest in 1920, Miklos Hammer was conscripted into the Hungarian Jewish forced labour battalion in 1941. From then on, layer after layer of civilized life was stripped away as he and others were herded into a ghetto by fellow Hungarians, before eventual transportation to the deadly destination of Birkenau. His last night in the ghetto was spent locked inside a synagogue amid Dantesque scenes of panic, squalor and depravity. The next day found him aboard a cattle truck bound for Poland and the barbarous cruelty of life under the SS. The various nightmare journeys, the work, the casual death and torture, and the routine of existence inside the camps - where a courteous, cultured doctor can turn into a sadist and a son can be forced to kill his father - are all recounted. In a final twist, the story moves to England and describes, after a sequence of bizarre encounters with the representatives of evil and bureucracy, the rekindling of the human spirit.