Cover Image: Tracks to Freedom

Tracks to Freedom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Tracks to Freedom is a novel about the horrible experiments that took place at the medical ward at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during WWII. Michael Reit tells a tale about Auschwitz-Birkenau, based on careful research, that quickly engrosses the reader until the last page. The actions of these people as they not only survive in circumstances designed to kill the human body, mind, soul and spirit, but also offer resistance to the Nazi war machine, are nothing short of highly inspiring.
This is a good read. The plot, setting and theme are well-drawn. The characters are not well-nuanced, but this genre does not call for that.

Was this review helpful?

An exceptional book among thousands of Holocaust historical novels. Michael Reit’s exhaustive research tells the tale of Auchwitz-Birkenau in a new light. He makes his characters come truly alive as they tell two stories….one of the heroic doctors and nurses in Block 10, the hospital where gruesome operations took place and the second is the story of those who were the Sonderkommandos and worked in the crematoriums. His attention to detail was amazing. You feel like you are right there living with his characters on an hourly and daily basis. The heroism shown in the plans and actual revolts was heartwarming. This novel should be recommended reading for all. This page turning, fascinating read shows the true brutality of the the Germans in the concentration camps.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit is one of the best books I have read about the Holocaust and of Auschwitz. I have read many books about both topics and I have always learned something new. This story was heartbreaking yet powerful and should be read by all. This is the second book in the series, but you can read it as a stand alone. However, it is so good that you will want to read both books in order.
Many thanks to the author and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Was this review helpful?

A moving and powerful story of what a small group of people can do in the darkest of times. Each character was given their own time and space to develop and the storyline was well-paced. A must-read for fans of historical fiction.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit is a heartbreaking story about the holocaust. Many thing experienced in this story actually happened. The doctors, Dr. Samuel, Dr. Brewda, and Dr. Fejkiel were doctors that tried to help the people. Two survived and testified in the trials. Some of the main characters also were real. From the first page to the end, you will not want to put the book down. The main characters suffer so many hardships and it starts in Poland in 1942. The author has done his research and the story is fascinating.
I was given an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher and I have given an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Although Tracks to Freedom is considered historical fiction, the novel is based on real people, real events and thoroughly researched by the author. I have read all of the author’s books and as with them, I was not disappointed in this one. I did not expect to be entertained. I expected to learn and care for the characters and to find out what their experiences were. Mr. Reit delivered as usual. I appreciated the afterward that further explained the connections to the characters within the novel. This is not an easy book to read- the atrocities committed by the Nazis are described and the work prisoners are forced to complete are also graphic at times. I recommend this book to anyone interested in WW11 literature and people who like historical fiction of the period.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom is the second book on a series but can be read as a standalone.
If you have ever read a book by Michael Reit, you know that he delivers stories that are as heart wrenching as accurate as characters in a historical fiction stories can be. This book isn't the exception.
With an extraordinary amount of research Mr. Reit tell us the story of Auschwitz-Birkenau thru the eyes of three main characters and a lot of secondary ones, some who are actual persons and some based on the stories told by survivors.
Agnes is a nurse that tries to help her fellow jewish prisoners in the hospital and in the infamous Block 10, Joel, who was always handy with her hands is working as a handyman in the repair crew and Samson who ends up working as a Sonderkommando in the crematoriums, What all of them have in common is that they all, in their own way, work with the resistance. The book is their stories with the background of all the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis in the infamous extermination camp of Auscwitz-Birkenau.
This is a very hard book to read but one that is important to read, because if people don't learn the history of this period it will be easier to be repeat it, as history tends to repeat itself. But the more we know the more tools we have to prevent horrors like this to ever happen again.

Was this review helpful?

This book broke my heart and was hard to digest, but in the best way possible. The book is riveting and will keep the reader engaged the entire time.
The story follows different Jews throughout their journey during World War 2. It shows them all briefly before they were sentenced to concentration camps and follows them through their journey in the camp. The book focuses on untold stories of the inner camp resistance, hospital care, and crematorium workers in Auschwitz. There were many difficult things to read in the story, but it helps the reader to understand the lives of these prisoners. Too many books that cover the topic of concentration camps skim over the more gruesome details while this book embraced some of them. It's definitely one of the best fictional world War 2 books I have read. I highly recommend to all readers, especially readers of history focusing on World War 2.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. This book is so fast paced and it was input downable. Joel and Piotr what great characters their stories so interesting. Then there is Samson he seemed larger than life to me. Then Agnes what a brave woman she was.

This story is such a sad time in our history yet needs to be told to be remembered. I will remember the characters of this story for a very long time!

Was this review helpful?

I just finished reading Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit. What a good book! This is historical fiction, based on true events and real people during WW2 and in Nazi concentration camps. It is well written and held my attention. The main characters come from different places but as time in Auschwitz goes on their lives intersect and each plays an important part in survival and the quest for freedom.

While there are "feel good" moments written into the story, this is a heavy topic. It seems especially timely now with a rise in voices that claim these events never happened. I highly recommend it. #TrackstoFreedom

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley & the publisher for the ability to read the advanced copy of this book. It was a long, heart wrenching and utterly devastating book to read. It was well worth it though and I cried many times throughout even though admittedly I had to put it down several times to take a breather. It’s incomprehensible that one man had the ability to enlist an army of like minded, sick individuals to perform such heinous inhumane acts on thousands of innocent human beings. It’s very difficult to read about the holocaust but we should all learn from past history and continue to mourn for all of these individuals. The author made you love these characters and so many were real people or based on people who lived through these horrible years of pure evil and hell.

Was this review helpful?

A must read. I fell in love with the characters.

Agnes, a nursing student torn from her family. A big heart that will lead her to trouble with the Nazis.

Joel, who had privilege's that others didn't until his true identity is revealed. This lands him in Auschwitz in which his usefulness as a handyman/electrician places him in different areas. In doing so, he is able to assist in the Revolt.

Samson and Roza, a love story and teamwork to also help the Revolt.

This book is one of the first ones I've read that has so much focus on the horrors of the crematoriums. As others have said, it's not a feel good book. I did have to take breaks at times from reading due to horrors people are put through. How someone can be so heartless is beyond my understanding.

Was this review helpful?

The World Must Know

A tragic and heartbreaking story of those unfortunate souls that were transported to a place of disrespect, hatred and horror. Their only crime was existing as a Jewish human being. They were taken from their loving homes to watch their whole families perish in the chimneys at the death camp of Auschwitz at the hands of the Nazi’s.

Yet even as they were persecuted and threatened with death every minute they lived in this horrible place they managed to find ways to fight back. They resisted even when they had everything taken from them.

They found ways to be compassionate toward other prisoners and help them any way they could even though to do so might and in many cases did mean their lives.

A few brave and courageous found romance and friendship in the camp only to often have to watch the Nazi’s torture or murder their beloved in front of their eyes.

They story shows the good, the bad and the ugly within the camp, the prisoners and the Nazi’s. It is interesting on a historical level, sad on a personal level and intriguing in how they were able to resist in such evil conditions.

The characters were fitting for the parts they played and rang true to life. I especially liked the characters of Joel and Agnes and Roza and Samson. It was a sad but an interesting read about the revolt of the workers at the chimney's and how they managed it. I was horrified at the work of the doctor's where Dr. Brewda worked especially Dr. Claubberg although I did think Dr. Simon was trying to help. The book was well written and one that I won’t forget for a while. The one thing that stays with me is that something so vile and so evil was taking place and no one outside the camps would believe it was happening. The outside world was like ostriches with their heads in the sand.

I am glad I read this book. I liked reading about some of the characters from an earlier book and what happened to them. I liked reading about the courage and fortitude they showed. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thanks to Michael Reit for writing another great story, to The Book Whisperer for publishing it and to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit was a very difficult book to read. Michael Reit was able to depict very realistic images of the numerous atrocities the Nazis inflicted on the Jewish prisoners of Auschwitz/Birkenau in his newest book, Tracks to Freedom. It was gripping and gut wrenching at times. I have read all of the books Michael Reit has written. In all of his books, Michael Reit, wrote about aspects of World War II that were not widely known. In Tracks to Freedom, Michael Reit, masterfully researched and wrote about the little known horrific surgical experiments that Jewish doctors and nurses were forced to perform on young female prisoners that were housed in Block 10. He also brilliantly depicted the feelings, struggles, fear and hate the Jewish male prisoners carried with them each and every day as they were forced to operate and perform all the jobs at the crematoria. He portrayed the constant feeling of hunger and starvation the prisoners experienced as well as the rampant disease and death that plagued the prisoners and the constant fear, humiliation, and despair that they felt.

There were three main characters in Tracks to Freedom. Agnes Markx had been a nursing student in Amsterdam when the Nazis invaded her country. She and her sister were transported to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz. Since Agnes had some training as a nurse she was assigned to Block 10. At the time, Agnes had no idea what was going to be expected of her and what atrocities she would have to witness. Joel Kozak was deported from Ciechanow and also arrived on the platform of Auschwitz/Birkenau. At first, Joel was forced to go through all the luggage of the Jewish men and women that arrived at the camp. Joel and the others assigned to this work separated all the possessions the Jewish prisoners brought with them into distinct categories for the Reich to use. Later, Joel worked as an electrician and mechanic. This job gave Joel access to all parts of the camp. Joel soon became part of the camp resistance group and delivered and took messages to crucial members of the resistance. Samuel Tarski was deported from Krakow to Auschwitz/Birkenau. Since Samuel was big and strong, he was selected to work as a stoker in Birkenau’s crematoria. It was Samuel’s worst nightmare. The vivid descriptions of the jobs performed at the Crematoria were extremely hard to read. The men assigned there knew they could just as easily end up in one of the ovens if they showed any weakness or didn’t do the jobs they were forced to do. Samson played a major role in the Sonderkommando revolt. All three characters, Agnes, Joel and Samson were eventually brought together, as were many secondary characters, as Michael Reit was able to weave this incredible story based on real events that took place within the hellish confines of Auschwitz/Birkenau.

Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit was the sequel to Beyond the Tracks but it can be read as a stand-alone book. Once again, Michael Reit’s research for Tracks to Freedom was impeccable. Many of the people and occurrences were real. As I mentioned, this was a hard book to read in parts. I cried a lot at certain parts and had to take breaks here and there. It is so important though to remind all that these horrific things happened so they will never be repeated. I applaud Michael Reit for bringing these little known facts about World War II and the Holocaust to all of us so we can be better educated and driven to never let them happen again. With the current rise in anti-Semitism, as hard as these books are to read, they are even more powerful and important now to read. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Book Whisperer for allowing me to read Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Publication is set for December 8, 2022.

Was this review helpful?

This is yet another story about the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau. But what a well-written tale about it! I was on the edge of my chair on every page as 3 people who did not know each other struggled to rescue as many people as they could. Set aside a few hours when you start, this will not let you go until the last page.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom by Michael Reit is the follow up book to Beyond the Tracks but can be read on its own. It is based on events of survivors and victims of the Holocaust in the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps. Told from three different prisoners, Agnes who was a nurse in Block 10, Joel was an electrician and Samson was working in the crematorium, we see the horrific events these prisoners had to go through on a daily basis and the choices that had to make in order to attempt to survive.
The book was well researched extremely well written and I couldn't put it down. Michael Reit has become an auto read author for me and I'm already looking forward to reading his next novel. Thank you to the author and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

An interesting and informative novel about different people’s experiences in different concentration camps. It was good to be reminded that the Nazis sent people to camps for a variety of reasons.

Was this review helpful?

This is a well written story about the tragic lives and losses in the Nazi death camps. Although fictional, the story is based on that of actual victims and survivors of Auschwitz and Birkenau. The story is heartbreaking and horrifying as you see the brutal and demoralizing way people treat each other, but also inspiring when you consider the hope and faith that existed among the prisoners. The research into the events is top notch, and I appreciated the clarification at the end as to which characters were real. As I read the story, all of the characters were real to me. A very respectful story about the darkest of times that will echo in my heart for a very long time.

Was this review helpful?

Tracks to Freedom is another Holocaust novel which is not very different from others written about this horrendous period in our history. The book traces the lives and experiences of Joel and Samson from Poland and of Agnes from the Netherlands—each of them finally arriving at the prisons/extermination camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. The reader is swept along with the plight of these individuals and the descriptions of the German atrocities—including medical “research “ experiments.

This is not a happy, feel good novel but is worth reading. I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel prior to publication.

Was this review helpful?

The author tells a compelling story but does so with the greatest consideration and respect for facts. This is truly a well researched and carefully presented work. It is a good way for people to learn about the tragic but important part of humanity’s shared history without needing to delve into history books. It is a hard read but that is the nature of the subject matter. The author presents such sympathetic characters that it is impossible not the become truly immersed in their fate. Well done, Mr Reit!

Was this review helpful?