“TO AUSCHWITZ & BACK: THE JOE ENGEL STORY”— Persecution and Perseverance



Persecution and Perseverance

Amos Lassen

To be a good storyteller, one must have a story to tell and Joe Engel has such a story. At 90 years of age, he gives us an unforgettable tale of persecution and perseverance. We have had Holocaust stories by the thousands but I do not believe we have ever had a story as profound or as moving as this one.

Joe Engel’s story is one of persecution and inner-strength and fortitude as well as of a daring escape from internment in Nazi Germany. Engel was born in Zakroczym, Poland in 1927 and was taken by the Nazis at 14 and never saw his parents again. From the Warsaw Ghetto where despair was everywhere to the death and suffering that was Birkenau and Auschwitz, Engel shares the hell he endured until his escape from a Death Train at 17 and covert work as a freedom fighter until Liberation in 1945. Director Ron Small with the assistance of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s film and photographic archives brings us Engel’s incredible story. 

It was through his will to live that Engel was able to overcome unimaginable horrors, earn his freedom, and then fight to free others. His story is of faith, renewal, inner-strength and redemption and it is his passion for life that allows him to tell his story today so that the Holocaust is never forgotten.  Joe Engel is living history and today he is a treasured citizen, community leader and philanthropist. To say anymore about what we see in the film would ruin the viewing experience so I am telling you to find out where you can see it or wait and buy the DVD. I do not believe that I have to say what an important film this is.

This is the first film to be released “from the newly launched Holocaust Education Film Foundation, a 501c3 organization founded with the objective of assuring that the painful legacy of the Holocaust is never forgotten by producing documentaries with survivors from around the world, sharing their astounding stories through the medium of film.”

This powerful documentary comes out on DVD and digital this August from Dreamscape Media and the Holocaust Education Film Foundation, in conjunction with Anchor Media Group and Synagogue Emanu-El.

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