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Summary

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

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What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Craig
  • Dunfermline, United Kingdom
  • 18-08-11

Man's inhumanity to man.

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.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • Romford, United Kingdom
  • 29-11-11

one of the best audio books I have heard

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly enthralling

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Moving yet spellbinding

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • Nuneaton, United Kingdom
  • 27-06-12

The man who broke into Auschwitz

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 *
Narrated beautifully

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Yin and the Yang..

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Amazing...Every secondary school pupil read this!

Forget ancient history at school. This book should be studied by every secondary school aged child. It will hopefully bring them to realise just how fortunate they are. Fascinating from the first 10 seconds. Easily the best audio book in my 3.5 years of listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very good

Heart felt listen , sadness , happiness and joy . Really makes you realise what those poor people went through :(

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Amazing account

What an amazing man. This account of the horrors of the concentration camps and the pows needed telling

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

Amazing gripping and also very sad

Good narrator and powerful story , gutted it’s over could have listened and listened , highly recommend

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rod Tatchell
  • 26-12-11

Well worth listening to

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

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.

What other book might you compare The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz to and why?

None

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Same as title

Any additional comments?

No

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ilse
  • 13-05-12

Captivating. Definitely worth reading/listening

Would you listen to The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz again? Why?

Yes I would, although the story stuck with me.

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

Yes, luckily enough I took it for long runs!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 06-02-12

SPELLBINDING, COULDNT PUT IT DOWN

Would you try another book from Denis Avey and Rob Broomby and/or Sean Barrett?

YES

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz?

THE EXCHANGE AND BOLDNESS TO CONFRONT AN SS SOLDIER

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

ONE FEELS HE IS TALKING DIRECTLY TO YOU.

Any additional comments?

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!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Allen
  • 21-01-12

Eye Openeing

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

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Awesome Narrator... Calm, soulful, meaningful delivery.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Horrified at the atrocities of the Concentration Camps.

Any additional comments?

My Favorite Listen So Far.