In April 1944, Rudolf Vrba and Fred Wetzler became the first Jews ever to escape Auschwitz, grappling with electrified fences, dodging watchtowers and evading the eagle-eyed SS with their vicious guard dogs in order to secure their freedom.

However, their mission didn’t stop there. After traversing treacherous terrain, Vrba began work on his next task: to reveal the horrors of the Holocaust via an eyewitness report that ultimately reached presidents, prime ministers and the Pope – and he saved over 20,000 lives.

Chronicling Vrba’s perilous story in his new book, The Escape Artist, journalist Jonathan Freedland joins us to discuss this astonishing real-life tale and its relevance today.

About The Journalist

Jonathan Freedland Headshot

Jonathan Freedland

Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist and former foreign correspondent. He was named Columnist of the Year in 2002, Commentator of the Year in 2016 and won an Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2014. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series, The Long View, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of 11 books, two of them non-fiction, including his first book, the award-winning Bring Home the Revolution. He has written nine thrillers under the name Sam Bourne, including The Righteous Men which was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.