Two inmates at Auschwitz escaped on this date in 1944 with the help of the camp’s underground to tell the world about the murder of Hungarian Jews that was then transpiring by the tens of thousands. Rudolf Vrba (Walter Rosenberg) and Alfred Wetzler dictated thirty-two pages of detailed information to Jewish communal officials in Slovakia, including a layout of the camp and a description of its gas chambers. As a result, Hungarian regent Miklós Horthy was pressured by world leaders to halt deportations of Jews to Auschwitz, which probably saved tens of thousands from death. Vrba then joined the Czechoslovak partisan units and fought as a machine-gunner, winning several medals. He lived until 2006, Wetzler until 1988.
“The strength of the Final Solution was its secrecy, its impossibility. I escaped to break that belief that it was not possible. And to stop more killings.” —Rudolf Vrba