The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz: A True Story of World War II

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz: A True Story of World War II

Denis Avey

Language: English

Pages: 312

ISBN: 0306821494

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the concentration camp, Buna-Monowitz, known as Auschwitz III.
In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British 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 labor.
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 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.

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forward to than bully-beef, and hard tack – dog biscuits to anyone else. Then there was Maconochie’s meat stew. They’d had that in the First World War trenches too. Very occasionally, we might shoot a gazelle and we would have a feast that we could make last for days. Some of the lads would try and fire at them from moving vehicles but the desert just wasn’t flat enough. Bouncing over the mounds we called camel humps ruined their aim. As a farm boy I knew the best way to do it was on foot so I

wrestle a revolver off one of the lads, convinced that the survival of us all depended upon it. Luckily I was overpowered. They whipped me into a hospital tent. I lost track of the days but I was there at least a fortnight though it could have been much longer. The nursing staff were splendid; the quinine treatment was bitter and ghastly. That’s about all I remember, and the heavy bombing, of course. There was plenty of that during my recovery and when you’re under canvas, it’s alarming. I

or give the game away. If I was unmasked they would have shot me on the spot; that much I knew. Inside I was geared up for a fight but outwardly I had to feign weakness and compliance. Adrenalin pumped through my veins as I listened to the rhythmic background drone of counting: ‘Eins, zwei, drei, vier.’ The living were counted with the dead whose corpses lay piled to one side. As long as the Kapos saw a head in the dirt they would count it as a body; as long as the numbers were the same morning

was distressed to learn I couldn’t get a train to London for six hours. When it finally left it was still a long slow journey. Then I had to change in London and get another connecting train out to the village. I arrived exhausted and too late. My mother had already died. I had sensed on my return home from the war that she wasn’t well. Her golden hair, which gave her the appearance of a woman in a Titian painting, had turned grey. She had paid the price for our war. Father had been taking her

twenties, and, if necessary, we returned to anything that was unclear over and over again until we were satisfied, carefully rechecking times, names and places. We also consulted archives and other published works. (See the Acknowledgements and Bibliography in this book for more details.) Readers can see Denis Avey talking about his experiences at, and there is a short extract from Ernest (Ernst) Lobethal’s Shoah Foundation testimony concerning Denis at

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