The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz

Book rating: 02 Paperback

By (author) Denis Avey, By (author) Rob Broomby

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  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 22mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 29 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1444714198
  • ISBN 13: 9781444714197
  • Illustrations note: 2 x 8pp Black & White
  • Sales rank: 1,463

Product description

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 where 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, 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.

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Author information

Denis Avey was born in Essex in 1919. He fought in the desert during the Second World War and was captured and held as a Prisoner of War in a camp near Auschwitz III. In 2010 he received a British Hero of the Holocaust award. Rob Broomby is a British Affairs correspondent for the BBC World Service. He was formerly the BBC Berlin correspondent and has worked as a broadcast journalist mainly with BBC Radio for more than twenty years.

Customer reviews

By Wendy SEKULOFF 18 Mar 2012 3

The title is somewhat misleading as I felt only a small part of Denis Avey's memoir is the title of the book. However, in saying that, I guess he had to tell his whole story with a lead up to that particular event. I did start to think I would never get to the main part though! It is truly unbelievable and an amazing story, which I am glad he has shared it (with the help of Rob Broomby). It makes a change from reading pure fiction and was told in an easy style. It was hard not to make comparisons at times with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I was reminded of the factual nature of the book with the photos in the middle.

By Richard Middleton 30 Jan 2012 1

I have not read this book.... But read on...
I am familiar with the story line.
It was first published as "The Password is Courage" about a chap called Charlie Coward, a British Soldier who did exactly this.
He was played in a film of the same name by Dirk Bogarde.
Suggest before buying this you do a Google on the title of the book to read the various accounts of contradictory info and doubting fellow soldiers.
On an other matter, how did so many tiny children survive Nazi death camps to go on to write survivor books? We should be told.

Review quote

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 This memoir is an important contribution to a terrible chapter in history. Daily Express Denis is a hero in time of terror, a man of limitless moral and physical courage. Henry Kamm, New York Times correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner 'This is the most amazing Holocaust memoir it's been my good fortune to read...this is a beautiful, uplifting book about a real ben adom, a mensch, who saw evil and, instead of averting his eyes, did what he could to help the victims'. Washington Jewish Week an excellent memoir of survival. Publishers Weekly A unique war story from a brave man. Kirkus This is the incredible story of British soldier Denis Avey who broke into Auschwitz to uncover the horrors that were concealed there by the Nazis...This is a brutal account of what he experienced. There are some who doubt his story but don't let that ruin this extraordinary book. Press Association THE MAN WHO BROKE INTO AUSCHWITZ will take your breath away. La revista de Ana Rosa (Spain) What starts as an act of reportage then becomes a moving and ultimately triumphant story of survival. Belfast Telegraph 'Exceptional'. Morgenpost (Germany) An astonishing heroic tale of a steady character. Judische Zeitung (Germany) 'An admirable story'. Periodista digital (Spain) 'A remarkable story'. De Telegraaf (Holland) A 'strange, brave and bracing story'. Canberra Times