In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and report from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the "final solution" for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped in April 1943; soon after, he wrote a brief report. This book is the first English translation of a 1945 expanded version. In the foreword, Poland's chief rabbi states, "If heeded, Pilecki's early warnings might have changed the course of history." Pilecki's story was suppressed for half a century after his 1948 arrest by the Polish Communist regime as a "Western spy". He was executed and expunged from Polish history. Pilecki writes in staccato style but also interjects his observations on humankind's lack of progress: "We have strayed, my friends, we have strayed dreadfully.... We are a whole level of hell worse than animals!"
©2012 Jarsolaw Garlinski and Aquila Polonica (U.S.) Ltd. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
short, fat, and stupid.
When I first began this book I was some what disappointed. The reader at times can be hard to understand. The book is all so written as an account in some ones life and therefore has had little effort put in to creating a gripping story line. However getting further in to the book I realised what this book really is, a story of one of the bravest and best of the species called human beings. Durring a time when any normal person would have done anything possable not to go and anything else to leave Mr. Pilecki volunteered to go and choose to stay, in order to complete his work. He is the bar in which any man should strive to reach. I feel as I shall try harder to be a stronger better human,man, after listening to this book. I recommened this book highly for a few different reasons but mainly because it has changed my perspective.
Provides a captivating first hand account of time a prisoners life and trials in a concentration camp...all while organizing and eventually escaping the horrible conditions. Only to be murdered after the war was over.
Before I started this audiobook I head of Witold but very vaguely: something about a man who intentionally got himself captured and put in Auschwitz. I had no idea I would be so literally changed as a person after hearing his story told through his own words.
Witold talks about, at different times in his report, his optimism and faith. So many weaker men died off but Witold, through his incredible willpower and smarts, not only survived, but continued to work for the Polish underground throughout his time in Auschwitz and after. I loved when he talked about when he was put in the carpenter shop and even though he had no experience, managed with creativity and drive to learn the trade. Witold did this a few times (i.e. The bakery). When others were taking the Canada (items from the gas chamber victims such as gold and other valuables) Witold maintained his dignity and didn't want anything stained in blood as he said. It was part of this incredible dignity he was able to maintain that also helped him survive.
Witold is an inspiration and I highly recommend this book not merely to view the atrocities of the Holocaust that we are all familiar with but rather much more to gain a first person perspective of a survivor and a real man.
Amazon gives me 14 words for this review. It's not nearly enough. You'd need thousands.
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