TV stars and the author helped to launch a book about a concentration camp escapee who tried to tell the world about the Holocaust – and was virtually ignored.
Radio 4 host and Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland was interviewed by the BBC’s former politics editor Nick Robinson about The Escape Artist, a biography of Slovak biochemist Rudolf Vrba, due to be published tomorrow, June 9.
Among the hundred of supporters of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), which hosted the launch, were Robert Rinder – aka Judge Rinder – Emmerdale star Louisa Clein and EastEnders’ Tracy Ann Oberman.
There were also donors, Parliamentarians, Holocaust survivors and the trust’s young ambassadors.
Freedland told how Vrba escaped from Auschwitz in 1944, and attempted to tell the world what was happening to the Jews of Europe. Vrba believed that if people were informed, they would act. But he met with disappointment and incomprehension from world and community leaders.
This chimes with the HET key mission, to, honour survivor testimony and ensure that everyone, everywhere knows the dark history of the Holocaust.
Freedland also spoke of the role of truth in a post-truth world, the inability of humanity to understand the danger facing it, and the complex figure of Rudolf Vrba.
HET chief executive Karen Pollock said: “We were delighted to host the highly esteemed author and commentator, Jonathan Freedland, in conversation with BBC stalwart, Nick Robinson to celebrate the launch of Jonathan’s new book.
“Rudolf Vrba’s unique testimony stands a monument to inertia and ignorance – a warning that still reverberates today.
“It is our hope that all can learn about the history of the Holocaust, through formal lessons in the classroom, and informally through valuable texts such as ‘The Escape Artist’.
“We are hugely grateful to Jonathan and Nick, and honoured that a portion of the proceeds of this remarkable book will go to the Holocaust Educational Trust.”
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