Wicked Son

The Auschwitz Protocols: Czeslaw Mordowicz and the Race to Save Hungary’s Jews

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As Adolf Eichmann sent hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz gas chambers, the Jews of Budapest needed the eyewitness testimony of escapee Czeslaw Mordowicz to save them.

The clock was ticking on the Nazi plan to annihilate the last remnants of Hungarian Jewry. But after nearly suffocating in an underground bunker, Auschwitz prisoners Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin escaped and told Jewish leaders what they had seen. In early June 1944, their testimony corroborated earlier hard-to-believe reports of mass killing in Auschwitz by lethal gas and provided eyewitness accounts of record daily arrivals of Hungarian Jews meeting the same fate. It was the spark needed to stir a call for action to pressure Hungary’s premier to defy Hitler—just hours before more than 200,000 Budapest Jews were to be deported.