Author(s): Jack Fairweather
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 England. The Volunteer includes 16-pages of black-and-white photographs and six maps.
Prizewinner - Shortlisted Costa Biography Award - 2019