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Rudolf Vrba (1924–2006)

Author of I Escaped from Auschwitz

Includes the names: Rudolf Vrba, Rudolf Vrba, Rudolph Vrba

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Rudolf Vrba was born Walter Rosenberg to a Jewish family in Topolcany, Czechoslovakia. After Nazi Germany invaded his country in World War II when he was 15 years old, he worked as a laborer until being arrested and deported in 1942. He was sent first to the Maidanek concentration camp and then to Auschwitz. In 1944, he made a harrowing escape from the latter camp and managed to reach northern Slovakia. There he worked with another escapee to write an eyewitness report on Auschwitz and the exact mechanics of Nazi mass murder, including diagrams of gas chambers and crematoria. The document, known as the Auschwitz Protocol, was sent to the British and USA governments and the International Red Cross, and was later used as evidence in the Nuremburg trials. He took the nom de guerre Rudolf Vrba after joining the Resistance and later made the change legal. After the war, he earned a doctoral degree from the Czech Technical University in Prague. He become a distinguished medical researcher in Israel, England, the USA and Canada and a professor of pharmacology at the University of British Columbia. In 1963, he published his autobiography, I Escaped from Auschwitz (also known as Escape from Auschwitz: I Cannot Forgive). His influence as a witness became even greater after he appeared in the 1985 documentary film "Shoah," directed by Claude Lanzmann.
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