The Auschwitz Volunteer by Witold Pilecki

The Auschwitz Volunteer

In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and reported from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the "fin...

Details The Auschwitz Volunteer

TitleThe Auschwitz Volunteer
Release DateApr 1st, 2012
PublisherAquila Polonica Publishing
GenreWorld War II, Holocaust, History, War, Nonfiction, Biography

Reviews The Auschwitz Volunteer

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    Polish army officer Witold Pilecki went 'undercover' into Auschwitz. His account of what happened inside this most infamous of death camps will haunt you for the rest of your life.
  • Lewis Weinstein
    UPDATE 1/28/19 ... one of the great pleasures in writing historical fiction is the opportunity to mix real and fictional characters. Deep in the woods near Auschwitz, my character Anna Gorska is about to meet Witold Pilecki, who has just escaped. I don't know what I'm going to write, but if I can capture anything close to the excitement I'm feeling about this encounter, I think it'll be worth reading.***This is an incredible story ... all the mor...
  • Terri Lynn
    This book is very easy to read because the writer Witold Pilecki used such clear writing since he was not writing a book but instead was writing a series of reports which have been gathered into this book . It is also one of the hardest books too read that I have ever picked up because he was writing so clearly about the day to day realities of Auschwitz, a place run by subhuman monsters with no code of ethics and no respect for other people. Thi...
  • Jason
    I had never heard of Witold Pilecki, it's not something I was taught about at school. I've mentioned him to my friends and nobody had heard of him. I work at a school and mentioned him to the history teacher, she didn't know the name either. I find that quite shocking, one of the biggest heroes from WW2 and he is unknown by many.Pilecki volunteered to get arrested and sent to Auschwitz and report back the goings on in there. He succeeded on gaini...
  • Uwe Hook
    "When God created the human being, God had in mind that we all should be like Captain Witold Pilecki."The Auschwitz Volunteer" is the single most extraordinary tale of heroism you will ever read. To say that Witold Pilecki was a "man's man" is to understate the case considerably. We don't have words to adequately convey the kind of heroism Pilecki displayed. Language is a common possession and Pilecki was entirely uncommon. Witold Pilecki is one ...
  • Rupert Dreyfus
    I read the English edition a couple of years ago before visiting Auschwitz. You can get it online somewhere. I asked my guide about Pilecki and she was surprised I knew who he was because hardly anyone outside of Poland is aware of him. This is already beginning to change.World War II is full of incredible, harrowing tales and this one is the most amazing story I know of. In a nutshell Pilecki was a member of the Secret Polish Army. With them he ...
  • Michael
    Witold Pilecki, married middle age father, volunteers to get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz (September 1940) to be able to gather information for the Polish Underground & help organize the resistance within the camp. This book is the English translation of his 1945 written report to the Polish High Command. Murdered by Russian Communists in 1948 his name was effectively purged from Polish history until after the fall of the Soviet Union. ...
  • Eva Leger
    Definitely worth reading. I borrowed this from the library and was horrified to find halfway through the book that someone had torn out a page. It was a page with a full page photograph, that much I could tell, and it's more of that someone would actually do that to a book - any book - than anything I "missed".Regardless, the photos are amazing, as with any book of this nature. I just stare at the faces and try to imagine what they could have bee...
  • Orion
    The Auschwitz Volunteer is a newly available English translation of a report written by Witold Pilecki, a Polish military officer, in the late summer of 1945 about the 3 years he spent inside the Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940-1943. Auschwitz was young then: Pilecki was on the second transport of prisoners to what had been a Polish cavalry base converted by the Germans into a camp for Polish prisoners. When the first transport was sent, P...
  • Barbaraleah
    This is perhaps, the most amazing book I have read on the Holocaust. Captain Witold Pilecki VOLUNTEERED to go to Auschwitz to organize rebellion and to ensure the world knew what atrocities were being perpetrated. Captain Pilecki is the definition of a hero.A must read!
  • Gabriella | The Novel Nook
    This should be required reading in every history class. Detailed, thorough, and absolutely amazing.
  • Linda
    This book stands alone among the many accounts I've read of life and death in Auschwitz. Captain Pilecki did not intend it as a book, but as a military, intelligence report to the Polish Underground. It is a factual recounting of his life, observations, and work in Auschwitz in its earlier years. He tried not to editorialize, but as he stated, "We were not made out of...stone, though it sometimes seemed as if even a stone would have broken out in...
  • Margaret
    Did anybody know? Did anybody try to tell the world? Yes. The answer is "yes." Based upon reports Pilecki wrote, this work takes you inside the death camp and details the inner workings of the Nazi atrocities and how some were able to survive the brutality and horror, creating a network of resistance and support. Pilecki details both the depravity and the selflessness that can be contained within human beings. Not a book for the younger reader, b...
  • Steve Bookman
    One of the proud republic of Poland's incredible heroes in a long history of resistance to domination by powerful neighbors. All of the handful of documented escapes from Auschwitz are amazing, but this one starts with the perhaps unique circumstance of the author's voluntary entry to the concentration camp with the aim of starting and building a resistance organization.A vivid if somewhat breathless narrative accompanies by a large number of pho...
  • Natalie
    Love it when the "little" man/woman, stands up and actually does what his conscience yells at him to do. One one side you have the Nazis who did exactly that and then You have the people described here. Its a heart wrenching book. And it took me a while to stop crying every time I thought about it and tryed to review it. One of my heroes Michele Colucci alias Coluche once said: Bravery consists not in saying what you think, but in doing what you ...
  • Laura Kuhn
    The text provides a view of Auschwitz that is rarely seen. Mr. Pilecki was in the camp early in its inception and he was there as a Pole and Catholic. As a member of the Polish army (and subsequent underground), he allowed himself to be arrested in order to build cells in the camp. This book is the third report her wrote detailing his experiences, and he was executed by Soviets before he had a chance to revise it in anyway. The style is raw and i...
  • Joseph Serwach
    Amazing and true story of the Polish hero who snuck into Auschwitz to prepare for the eventual uprising against the Nazis. He stayed in the camp for years, organizing a resistance. He eventually escaped to fight in the Warsaw Rising of 1944, survived the war and then came back to fight the communists, eventually losing his life to the Russians in 1949. An amazing and true story largely in his own words showing what it was really like.
  • Brian Ferris
    I have not read many stories on the Holocaust but I think this is one of the best ones. I chose this one because the thought of somebody volunteering to go to Auschwitz was mind-boggling. The author made the content very easy to read and so I found that I was able to finish this book very quickly. I will admit there were some parts where I had to take a little break due to the content. If you get stuck hug a puppy it'll make you feel better. :-)
  • Hermien
    I'm conflicted about this book. If it is all true it is an amazing story, but I failed to understand the purpose of infiltrating Auschwitz and staying there for three years. I'm not sure what it achieved in the end.
  • Holly
    I don’t think I’ve ever read a more difficult book. I found it almost impossible to encounter the horrifying, unimaginable misery that was within these pages. It isn’t because I’m not, I would say, pretty familiar with various depictions of tragic human suffering and even understanding that we can be sadistically cruel toward even the innocent, but that the normality of what was concentration camp life could have eluded my comprehension t...
  • Nick
    In a world where we’re so used to fictional superheroes, it’s hard to imagine there were ever any real ones; if anyone living or dead ever deserved to be called a superhero, it’s Witold Pilecki.He’s like William Wallace, James Bond, Rambo and MacGyver rolled into one.He was fighting Russia in the trenches in 1919-1920, and setting up secret armies against the Nazis and the Soviets in the late 1930s. He chose to go into Auschwitz and later...
  • Lorgar (Chris)
    This is a story of a great man, Wiltold Pilecki, or 'Inmate 4859'. It tells the story of his voluntary admission into Auschwitz during a Warsaw street round up in 1940 to his escape in 1943. It doesn't really cover his involvement in the Warsaw uprising or his later capture and execution. I read this as preparation for a trip to Auschwitz and I felt like I really 'got to know' the hero. I listened to the audio version which came with a pdf supple...
  • Kandice Newren
    This was a book that was recommended by one of the book blogs I follow. It was interesting to see how Auschwitz was started and how it transformed over about three years. It was heartbreaking to realize all that was happening in that camp and the cruelty of others. It makes me want to learn more about the Polish resistance during the war, so maybe that's where I'll go next. The writing, although written some time after escaping the camp, tells th...
  • Tomi
    Excellent book. This is actually a report that Pilecki sent to his superiors after he had been in Auschwitz - having managed to get himself arrested and taken there voluntarily to report on the conditions. He was one of the early inmates. This is written in a matter-of-fact style which makes it even more heartrending. I can't understand how people can be so evil...It was impossible to put this book down once I had started it. It shows the horror ...
  • Mark Dodson
    My son and I visited the Holocaust Museum in DC last summer, and I wanted to do some more reading about it. I found this one just looking through the shelves in our public library, and glad that I did. Without mentioning any spoilers, it’s a survivor’s story of 32-months in Auschwitz from 1940 to 1943 and how he was able to survive. Keep in mind that the conditions there were very difficult and it contains very graphic accounts of cruel tortu...
  • Donna Luu
    It's hard to believe that a first-person account of Auschwitz can be so recently discovered/published. It's even harder to read this knowing the ultimate fate of the author, who escaped Auschwitz only to be executed as a traitor. Still, a very compelling account.
  • Merilyn
    Imteresting story about Witold Pilecki who infiltrated Auschwitz so he could write a report about what was going on inside the Concentration Camp.
  • Patrice Murphy
    Extraordinary story, hidden for decades. The simplicity of the telling belies incredible courage and generosity.
  • Alan Scott
    One of the most extraordinary stories I've ever read. Witold Pilecki is an unsung heroes of the twentieth century, and this text is a military report he wrote of his experiences inside Auschwitz attempting to organize an unground resistance movement. Why aren't more people familiar with his story? It is because later he was part of a movement fighting the Stalinists in Poland, but was arrested and executed, and literally erased from history. It w...