Journey Through Darkness
The story of Willy Berler's 'Journey through Darkness' opens with the attack on the 20th Belgian convoy from Mechelen to Auschwitz, an extraordinary act of resistance. His tale then relates the arrival at Monowitz, his fortuitous transfer to the main camp of Auschwitz, and the story of his friend's $100 which ultimately saved both their lives in Buchenwald. It tells of the executions at the Black Wall, which Willy Berler was forced to watch, and of the special commando of the SS Hygiene Institute of Rajsko, which has been relatively undocumented. Finally, it describes the death march, and Willy Berler's chance meeting with an SS murderer from his hometown, who spoke better Yiddish than he did. The book does not simply describe the horror: the story is also a tale of solidarity and friendship, of humanity in a dehumanized universe. Friends, chance, and especially good luck saved him in that hell, allowing him to survive.