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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trucks were in trouble, so we had to head back for repairs. We were getting short of food and ammunition. There was a squally wind with bursts of heavy rain so you often couldn’t see much. The artillery couldn’t move because the armour needed all the petrol and some of the guns only had thirty rounds left each. The Italians weren’t giving up. It went on all that day, with sporadic attacks, gunfights and blown-up vehicles everywhere with soldiers crouched behind them. The CO of our headquarters

were no latrines when I arrived so the prisoners had to go where they could and they were so ill that meant anywhere. It was a dreadful place, that field, and the prisoners quickly named it ‘Dysentery Acre’. Eventually the Italians relented and a trench was dug about four feet by ten and four feet deep. It was soon full: 160 cubic feet of human excrement. It stank. There was no room for embarrassment. I’d had dysentery on the blue and I knew what it was like, the sickness, the stomach pains and

doing a bit of gardening or gym to cover their escape tunnels, smoking pipes and teasing the Germans. It may have been like that in the officers’ camps but for us, the ‘other ranks’, it was hard, physical work, though it was not nearly as hard for us as for the stripeys. Each day I saw Jews being killed on the factory site. Some were kicked and beaten to death, others simply collapsed and died in the dirt of exhaustion and hunger. I knew the same was happening in every corner of the camp, in

questions. We all did it. Occasionally I would come across Ernst. Once I was in a hut in a contractor’s yard with a couple of other British chaps when he came in. We had been talking for a few minutes when we heard a noise and realised a guard was mooching around. Ernst couldn’t get out in time so he hid at the back behind some upturned tables. The guard stepped inside, looked around and demanded to know what we were up to. I managed to keep him occupied but I was talking utter rubbish to him

had to be sunk to save the lives of those still fighting. The greater good depended on it whatever the cost. The price was paid by men like us. That was the bad news. The carnage on board, especially in the hold where the torpedo had struck, had been appalling but, Rob had discovered, not all the prisoners on the ship had perished, and in fact most had survived the attack. I couldn’t believe it, surely that wasn’t possible. I had made it up on deck soon after the torpedo struck and went

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