In 1943 Polish underground fighter John Wiernicki is captured and beaten by the Gestapo, then shipped to Auschwitz. In this chilling memoir, Wiernicki, a Gentile, details life in the infamous death camp, and his battle to survive, physically and morally, in the face of utter evil. The author begins by remembering his aristocratic youth, an idyllic time shattered by German invasion. The ensuing dark days of occupation would fire the adolescent Wiernicki with a burning desire to serve Poland, a cause that led him to valiant action and eventual arrest. As a young non-Jew, Wiernicki was acutely sensitive to the depravity and injustice that engulfed him at Auschwitz. He bears witness to the harrowing selection and extermination of Jews doomed by birth to the gas chambers, to savage camp policies, brutal SS doctors, and rampant corruption with the system. He notes the difference in treatment between Jews and non-Jews. And he relives fearful unexpected encounters with two notorious "Angels of Death": Josef Mengele and Heinz Thilo. War in the Shadow of Auschwitz is an important historical and personal document.
"Wiernicki's memoir is a haunting and intimate account of the Holocaust, written with an almost unbearable clarity." (Booklist)
"In this simple but harrowing memoir, Wiernicki recounts his involvement with the Polish underground and his subsequent imprisonment in Nazi labor and death camps. That the author is a gentile survivor makes his testimony especially significant..." (Publishers Weekly)
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A true account of WWII horrors
This book told a horrible story of what life was like for those having to experience torture by the hands of the Nazi's. It was hard to listen to this because I could picture the life - and deaths - of so many deemed not worthy of living. It was a little dry at times but well worth listening to if you're interested in learning the hard truth.
This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
- Susan Bourgeois