THE ENVOY : THE EPIC RESCUE OF THE LAST JEWS OF EUROPE IN THE DESPERATE CLOSING MONTHS OF WORLD WAR II
by Alex Kershaw
Hungary was the last country, in 1944, where Adolf Eichmann planned to finish off his duty by sending the rest of the Jews to extermination camps. In just a couple of months, Eichmann had already deported half a million people to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Before he could carry it out though, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest to rescue the Jews that remained. He issued "Schutzpasses" (safe passage passes) and was able to save thousands this way. Wallenberg defied Eichmann, the other Nazis and the violent Arrow Cross and risked his own life for the safety of others. When the war was finally over, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets and disappeared into the gulag.
Eichmann fled and headed towards Austria. Eventually, he was captured by American soldiers who had no idea that they were holding a mass murderer (he used a false name) and was shunted around for two years in various POW camps. He escaped in 1947, got a passport and went to Argentina. Many years later, after much hunting and investigation, Eichmann was brought to Israel for trial. Justice was finally achieved.
Wallenberg was never found. His parents spent years trying to find him writing letters to Stalin and other leaders. Nobody really knows what happened to him except the Soviets and they're mum on that fact.
The Envoy is a terrific, riveting story of two men, one who was quite evil (although he said that he was only following orders) and another who had incredible courage and in the eyes of the survivors, a tremendous hero.
I have read many books on the Holocaust and about these two particular men. There's new information here (some quite startling) that I've never seen before. Alex Kershaw brings everything together, quite smoothly, from all of his sources (both documentation and interviews) for one exciting read.