Jack J. Hersch | Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust (Frontline Books)

256 pgs. | $34.95 hardcover, $16.77 digital

In the past couple of years, I’ve made it a point to read more books that cover the Holocaust—for various reasons, but not resigned to the fact that when we do not study history, we are more apt to repeat it. By knowing and studying the past, we also connect more with our ancestors. In doing so, we have a better understanding of what they may have experienced.

Author Jack Hersch does a splendid job retelling his father David’s story of his Death March Escapes, two of them to be exact, from the Nazis during World War II. It goes without saying that David Hersch had the survival instincts known only to the greatest survivors of all time. Hersch takes you on a journey like no other I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Being a fan of military history, I can only think of a couple of stories that would rival David Hersch’s encounters with death and survival. Staying alive for eleven months in the most brutal of conditions is a miracle in and of itself. Yet, six separate miracles occur during the length of this story. This book is sure to be a page turner for you as it was for me.

Hersch’s knack for retelling historical fact works, making this a must-read. One of the most interesting aspects, given now that we have access to Google Earth, is that you can join him in the spaces he traversed throughout Europe, giving you a side seat on Jack Hersch’s own journey to find the places that once held his father’s spirit.

The storyline is well established and flows together well. I also enjoyed Hersch’s military commentary as the war comes to a close at the end. You get the feeling that he has been a natural reiterator of facts his whole life. The emotion that he weaves through the book also is stunning and wonderful.

Death Escape March is a highly recommended piece of history for adults of any field. If you are a fan of survival, tenacity in any setting, miracles, and a person of faith, this is your book. Jew, Christian, Evangelical alike it makes no difference: your faith in humanity will be restored at the end of this tale, I promise you that. | Keva Bartnick

Death March Escape author Jack J. Hersch is appearing at 10:30AM on Thursday, November 7th at a free event at the Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Dr. in Creve Coeur, as part of the 41st annual Jewish Book Festival. For more information on the festival, visit www.stljewishbookfestival.org. For more information including photos featured in the book, visit www.thedeathmarchescape.com or on Davidhersch.com.

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