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Publisher's Summary

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the notorious concentration camp Buna-Monowitz, known as Auschwitz III. In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW labor camp, E715, near the site of Auschwitz III. He had heard of the brutality meted out to the prisoners there and he was determined to witness what he could. He hatched a plan to swap places with a Jewish inmate and smuggled himself into his sector of the camp. He spent the night there on two occasions and experienced firsthand the cruelty of a place where slave workers had been sentenced to death through labor. Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March in which thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek across central Europe, he was repatriated to Britain. For decades he couldn't bring himself to revisit the past that haunted his dreams, but now Denis Avey feels able to tell the full story - a tale as gripping as it is moving - which offers us unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.

©2011 Denis Avey & Rob Broomby (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This is a most important book, and a timely reminder of the dangers that face any society once intolerance and racism take hold." (Sir Martin Gilbert)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great, great story

Who cares if it's all entirely true or not, this is a great, great story. Funny at times, gruesome in spots, this book recounts the exploits of Avery during his time in British forces of WWII. I thought it was very well written and well read. The humor is of the dry, British sort, but this book kept me listening just to find out what else could happen to Ginger (Avery's assumed name). I don't think you'll be disappointed.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

More Than Just A Break-In

Great book, but I was a little mislead by the title. I expected the ENTIRE book to be about how Denis Avey broke into Auschwitz and the tale of his experiences there; turns out it’s just a small part of his story and did not happen until almost half way through.

But that’s not a criticism; the story of his life was very interesting! The first half of the book recounts his time fighting in Libya and Egypt, his harrowing POW experiences, how he escapes a ship that was torpedoed in the Mediterranean, and how he ultimately found himself in a work camp in Poland - E715, near Auschwitz III. That’s were he meets the man with whom he will switch places on two occasions - ‘breaking in’ to Auschwitz.

Although his stay in Auschwitz was very brief, what impressed me the most was his drive and determination to do it – to be a witness and see things for himself. Amazing. His account was compelling, but honestly so is every survivor’s telling of their horrific concentration camp experiences.

I found myself more interested in his after-war life and how his story became public only about 60 years later. The search for people he knew during the war leads to the telling of the life story of Ernst/Ernie, a man he met in the camp and for whom he procured cigarettes. Turns out, those cigarettes saved Ernst’s life… I won’t get into the details of how, you have to read the book for that, but it felt like a great full-circle.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Misleading Title

Any additional comments?

Based on the title, I was expecting a very different story. It was fine, and somewhat interesting but a bit long and tedious listening at some parts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, slow start.

I love stories like this and I'm so glad Denis Avey decided to share it! Unnecessary, lengthy
details about war causes the book to have a slow take off, but eventually it gets good.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting subject, but very slow.

This man has a great story, but how he tells it bored me to death.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible story, greatly narrated

Story is great, kept me listening till the last chapter. loved the narrator aswell, great performance!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Survivors Holocaust Remembrance

It takes almost half of the book before the man makes it to describing his time in Auschwitz and i think hearing his prior service and story really helped to get a full view of who he was as a person. i loved this book. So Raw and Real.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting from start to finish. Could hardly stop listening to go to bed or leave for work. Narrated with such detail and feeling

Riveting from start to finish. Could hardly stop listening to go to bed or leave for work. Narrated with such detail and feeling that you are immersed in the whole terrible ordeal of his war experience and struggles after the war. A must read for all.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story...narration distracting.

What did you love best about The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz?

Inspiring story with a unique perspective.

Would you be willing to try another one of James Langton’s performances?

Not likely.

Any additional comments?

The

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brenda
  • United States
  • 02-10-13

not worth the money

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Ñot very well told. Story content was boring. Seemed an immature first book. Could not finish it.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful