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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  • Rhea
  • Fort Worth, TX, United States
  • 09-22-13

The bar of manhood

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth every minute for a glimpse of Auschwitz

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Power of the human will

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great story , mediocre book

The story is absolutely fascinating, my only complaint is that because his situation this is basically what amounts to a rough draft. I would love to see someone else come in and gather all the information from this book and put it in a more clear and interesting fashion

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It’s a MUST read

I’ve just finished listening and I’m lost for words. It’s a must read. The bravery of Witold Pilecki and his comrades is hard to fathom. It’s not only a very detailed account of what happened in Auschwitz, but also a good reminder for us what true bravery and sacrifice means. Finally, the narration is very compelling and makes you feel like you are listening to Pilecki himself.

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Amazing Story! Not a movie yet?

Would you listen to The Auschwitz Volunteer again? Why?

NO

What did you like best about this story?

It is true and an absolutely amazing story of survival and courage.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Good

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

One of my top 5 most books that impacted me the most.

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Captain Witold Pilecki is a man of honor!!

I wish everybody would read or listen to this book. What Witold Pilecki has done for his country is unimaginable and he will be honored for this for eternity. History books about WWII focus more on the holocaust and barely anything is mentioned to what has happened to millions of poles. Anybody who wants to hear a true patriot, a pure from heart and soul patriot should listen to this book.

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The Auschwitz Volunteer

I thought I could handle the descriptions of the horrors of Auschwitz, but I couldn't. I gave up on about chapter 7.

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  • Brian
  • GALLATIN, TN, United States
  • 12-20-14

Perhaps the Greatest War Hero Ever Known

Amazon gives me 14 words for this review. It's not nearly enough. You'd need thousands.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • katie
  • 07-08-16

Spine chilling stuff

I'm not sure I can call this book good. It's well written but has a terrible content. Perhaps we should all listen to it. I've read a lot of ww2 books but this really made me stop and think, about how fortunate we are compared to these poor people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy Round
  • 03-13-18

Riveting

A very well written account of a man's personal survival in a world of darkness

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fat lady
  • 06-25-17

Essential Reading

Depressing, enlightening and educational, this is perhaps the most thorough first hand account of the treatment suffered by so very many in Auschwitz.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A
  • 01-23-17

Absolutely astonishing.

It's hard to put into word how amazing, horrifying, enlightening, and at times uplifting this entire book is. It gives an genuine and daily insight into the evolution and growth of a place of mechanical death. On top of that, it gives a small, and personal insight into how people coped with day to day problems.

There isn't a human on the planet who shouldn't read this book.

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  • Ed M.
  • 12-15-17

This is an unimaginable tale of resilience.

How did this man survive such brutality and murder all around him? I'm not sure, but this account was truly compelling. Depravity and gruesome violence abounds in almost every chapter; it's definitely a hard listen at times, but to think the man survived this travesty of a camp, and for so long, is an incredible feat that must be witnessed with this book.