The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
HarperAudio 2019
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Checked Out
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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.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
06/25/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062899071
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Date Added:
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        Jack Fairweather has been a correspondent for the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph, where he served as the Baghdad and Persian Gulf bureau chief. His reporting during the Iraq War earned him Britain's top press award. The author of A War of Choice and The Good War, he lives in Charlotte, Vermont.

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title
The Volunteer
fullDescription

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.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2019
        One man's remarkable heroism in the face of Nazi terror. Nothing about Auschwitz is pleasant reading. Thankfully, Fairweather (The Good War: Why We Couldn't Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan, 2014), a former correspondent for the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph, delivers a well-written, riveting work. The protagonist is Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki (1901-1948), part of Poland's cavalry reserves, much of which was decimated by the blitzkrieg's main panzer thrust. With Warsaw surrounded, most military leaders left the country, but Pilecki and another officer banded together and organized the remaining soldiers. During this time, Germany continued to pit ethnic groups against each other and, mostly, against the Jews. Nationalism was flourishing, and attacks on Jews escalated. When Pilecki tried to fuse their group with the mainstream underground, his partner asked him to form a new group--in Auschwitz, to fight from the inside. Once inside, a Polish work foreman got him a builder's job, which allowed him to start developing resistance cells among prisoners. In addition to some brave locals, newly released prisoners passed on his reports to Warsaw and then to London. The camp doctor saved Pilecki's life more than once, but in many of his messages, Pilecki begged to have the camp, arsenals, and railways bombed. Despite his messages, the Allies made excuses, claiming that winning the war was the only way to control the camps. Based on the reports from Pilecki, they certainly knew that Auschwitz had become a death camp. Using myriad sources to paint the pictures of the camp's horrors, including the prime source, Pilecki's memoir, which has only recently been translated, Fairweather shines a powerful spotlight on a courageous man and his impressive accomplishments in the face of unspeakable evil. An inspiring story beautifully told.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 29, 2019
        “Witold Pilecki volunteered to be imprisoned in Auschwitz,” writes former war correspondent Fairweather in this immaculately detailed history, and rather than being heralded as a hero, he was tried, executed, and “effectively deleted from history” by his country. Fairweather mines letters, coded diaries, and personal interviews to tell the story of how Pilecki, a gentleman farmer and Polish cavalry officer, left his family, assumed a false identity, and handed himself over to the Gestapo for imprisonment at Auschwitz along with all the other military-age men in Warsaw. For two and a half years, he endured torture, starvation, and disease, witnessing Jewish families being led to the gas chambers and choking on the fumes from burning bodies, all the while risking his life to collect information on death tolls and building plans for death chambers and crematoriums that would be smuggled out by released upper-class prisoners. Pilecki was devastated when the Polish resistance and the Allies refused to believe that Auschwitz had become the center of the “final solution.” After escaping on his own, Pilecki returned to a Poland decimated by the fleeing Germans and seized by the encroaching Communist forces, which labeled him a traitor for opposing them and executed him. Fairweather tells this tragic tale in gripping fashion, bringing a new angle to the literature of the Holocaust. Illus. Agent: Larry Weissman, Larry Weissman Literary.

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shortDescription

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...

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One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz
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