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The Volunteer

One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage the camp from within, and his daring escape to warn the Allies about the Nazis’ true plans for a “Final Solution.”

To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a young Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: intentionally get captured and transported to the new camp to report back on what was going on there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside - where the Germans would least expect it. 

The name of the camp was Auschwitz. 

Over the next two and half years, Pilecki forged an underground army within Auschwitz that sabotaged facilities, assassinated Nazi informants and officers, and smuggled out evidence of terrifying abuse and mass murder. But as the annihilation of innocents accelerated, Pilecki realized he would have to attempt another perilous mission: escape Auschwitz and somehow - with more than 900 miles of Nazi-occupied territory in the way - deliver his alert to London before all was lost....

Completely erased from the historical record by Poland’s Communist government, Pilecki remains almost unknown to the world. Now, with exclusive access to previously hidden diaries, family and camp survivor accounts and recently declassified files, Jack Fairweather reveals Witold’s exploits with vivid, cinematic bravura. He also uncovers the tragic outcome of Pilecki’s mission, in which the ultimate betrayal came not on the Continent, but in England.

©2019 Jack Fairweather (P)2019 HarperAudio

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It is impossible to hear of the atrocities of Auschwitz without being. Forced to consider man’s infinite cruelty

It is the true story of a heroic effort to fight against insurmountable horror. The hero. Is not a Superman but someone whose capacity for compassion endures against all odds. One can hardly imagine what it must have been like to daily risk your life to provide information to the outside world about what went on in the camp. To be responded to with silence, denial and inaction would undermine and undo the efforts of the best of us. Such was not so of the man who voluntarily allowed himself to be arrested and confined to Auschwitz. This memoir leaves unanswered the core question of how the holocaust could happen and the so-called civilized world remain silent. Instead we meet a just man who maintains his moral compass. In today’s world we are desperately in need of more men and women similarly made.