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28-29 January


The escape artists who got out of Auschwitz

Only five Jews ever engineered their own escape from Auschwitz, says Jonathan Freedland on The Rest is History. The first two were Rudolf Vrba and his friend Alfréd Wetzler. On 7 April 1944, they hid in a hole “not much bigger than a double grave”, concealed beneath a log pile near the perimeter. After lying there for three days and three nights – the longest a missing persons search could go on, under camp protocol – the pair sneaked through the fence and headed into the countryside of Nazi-occupied Poland. They had “no map, no compass, no friends”. The only guide they had to make it back to the country of their birth, Slovakia, was a memorised page in a children’s atlas. But it was enough.


quote 28.1.23 Mencken

“A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married.”

HL Mencken

Eating out

The oldest restaurant in the world – St Peter Stiftskulinarium in Salzburg, Austria – must be the only place ever to have served “Christopher Columbus, Mozart and Clint Eastwood”, says Moss and Fog magazine. The ancient eatery has been dishing up food since the year 803, initially giving it away free to religious pilgrims passing through St Peter’s Abbey. But it has moved with the times, and now combines classic Austrian fare with more of a nouvelle cuisine vibe. One of its slogans: “We love the history, but we do not live in the past.” Book a table here.


The country house

Built in 1908, this neo-Georgian mansion in Oxfordshire was the wartime training ground for the Special Operations Executive, Churchill’s crack squad of secret agents who were parachuted into Nazi-occupied territory. A radio base established within its grounds was key in breaking the Enigma code. Today, the plush, 12-bedroom manor boasts a library, stables, a swimming pool and a tennis court. Bicester is a 15-minute drive, with trains to London Marylebone in under an hour. £6m.

The hideaway

This home in the friendly crofting township of Borneskitaig on the Isle of Skye offers stunning views across Camus More Bay. It has an airy kitchen-diner, a large living room and four bedrooms, three of which are en suite. Outside, there’s a generous garden with wooden decking, perfect for watching the sun set over the water. The island’s main town, Portree, is a half-hour drive. £350,000.



quoted 28.1.23 Bagehot

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Walter Bagehot