The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into Buna-Monowitz, the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III. In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a POW labour camp, E715, near 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 at first-hand the cruelty of a place where slave workers had been sentenced to death through labour. 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 right 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 a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.
©2011 Denis Avey with Rob Broomby (P)2011 Hodder & Stoughton
Having just come back from Krakow and a vistit to Auschwitz this book was so so real. I could see the camps in my minds eye. Having wittnesed this and read the book I can honestly say it brings to light the horrors of the Solution. The way Dennis tells his story and relates, especially for me, the incident regarding the crying child, just makes you sick to the core. Although many soldiers dont like to talk about what they went through, I feel its so important that we keep the light burning about this period in our recent history. Especially for today's youth and tomorrows. After all, if not for Dennis and people like him....none of us may have ever existed. This book should be included as a must for historians of the period. A simple story but so well told. You will shed tears.
In the words of the man himself, a true account of real hero. It moved me laughter and sorrow. I found this story of one man's experience of the war to be enlightening and harrowing at the same time. Highly recommended.
Could not stop listening to it. An absolutely amazing life and truly epic story. An incredible man with an incredible life story that was gripping, educational and highly emotional. This book will educate you and shows the power of positive thinking as well as the terrible arbitrary lottery of life and death during war. It will certainly have you in tears more than once or you are not human. Would give 6 stars if I could. The narration and language is absolutely first class. Top of my list.
I visited Auschwitz several years ago and when I saw this book I felt compelled to read it and find out how someone survived the austerity within the camps. To think that people survived the treatment they endured is hard enough to grasp but to believe that someone put their own life in jeopardy to enable another to have a better chance of survival takes courage to a new dimension. Once I started listening I wanted to keep driving just so I could listen more. A compelling read and very informative.
I do have one criticism of this amazing story. Denis Avey gives us an overlong preamble to the main events which - from the title - most people will be interested in. Though nevertheless an extraordinary incident, he actually only spent 2 nights in Auschwitz altogether. Yet the title seems to promise even more.
However, that is to criticise only the publishers, who obviously wish to establish a 'hook' that will entice people to go out and buy the book. The events narrated are incredible enough and, narrated in a 'stiff upper lip, old-school', utterly British way, manage to hold rapt the listener's attention. The central portion deals with Avey's time in a camp whose inmates - fed and housed according to the Geneva Convention, a million times better than the inhabitants of the adjacent Auschwitz - nevertheless have to work alongside those other striped-pajama inmates. It's a gruelling account, all the more so as told by an eye-witness.
Yet the most incredible section is perhaps the final one, where Avey becomes the subject of a documentary, whose producers set out to track down one or two of the people Avey encountered. The story of this search is both heartwarming and yet also poignant, as Avey realises that his postwar life might have turned out very differently if only he had not been himself so traumatised by the events he had witnessed and been an unwitting accomplice in.
What an Inspirational story,
I have never been moved to write a review until now,
what a wonderful true story of courage such a moving and compelling account of life's struggles in war, tears welled in my eyes on more than one occasion
would 100% recommend this book with 5 *
I'm not a fan of war stories and this book is far from that.
I got a privileged unglorified insight into some of the seemingly randomness, the horrors & atrocities of war, POW camps & Auschwitz from my comfortable, safe perspective.
A testimony to the strength & endurance of the human spirit; how kindness & righteousness can to a degree prevail even in the most atrocious conditions as reflected in this story.
Very grateful to the author/s for sharing such an incredible story.
IAlso grateful to the countless many & the few for their immense & ultimate contributions they have made towards the freedoms we enjoy today.
The first half focusing on fighting the Italians sets the scene but could have easily been condensed, the second half is gripping, thought provoking and heart wrenching as a reminder of what is easily forgotten in our every day lives yet still feels like it's happened in our life time
"Well worth listening to"
Fascinating account. I enjoyed the additional autobiographical detail and it was easy to empathize with the author. Well written and authentically narrated. The story is so astonishing that at times I found myself wondering if it could be true but the details seemed sufficiently plausible and I was absorbed from beginning to end.
Same as title
"Captivating. Definitely worth reading/listening"
Yes I would, although the story stuck with me.
Yes, luckily enough I took it for long runs!
"SPELLBINDING, COULDNT PUT IT DOWN"
THE EXCHANGE AND BOLDNESS TO CONFRONT AN SS SOLDIER
ONE FEELS HE IS TALKING DIRECTLY TO YOU.
ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE FACTS OF WW2 HISTORY SHOULD READ THIS STORY. IT IS BOTH HEART BREAKING AND UPLIFTING AND LEAVES ONE WITH A SENSE OF PRIDE THAT THERE WERE THOSE WHO WERE PREPARED TO LOSE EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO HELP ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IN AN EXTREMELY BAD SITUATION. IT IS HARROWING AND INFORMATIVE AND I COULD'NT PUT IT DOWN. I THINK IT IS A MUST READ!
For all the WWII movies, and History Channel programmes, this audio book was an eye opener to the Actual Horrors experienced by One Denis Avey, a British POW. Very interesting, I could not stop listening.
A Journey of a man through the war. Not too much in depth detail day by day, but snippets of off the critical pieces over those years with just the right amount of detail as lived through and experienced by Avey.
Awesome Narrator... Calm, soulful, meaningful delivery.
Horrified at the atrocities of the Concentration Camps.
My Favorite Listen So Far.
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