The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz

  • by Denis Avey, Rob Broomby
  • Narrated by James Langton
  • 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the notorious concentration camp Buna-Monowitz, known as Auschwitz III. In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW labor camp, E715, near the site of 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 firsthand 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 in which thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek 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 unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.

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What the Critics Say

"This is a most important book, and a timely reminder of the dangers that face any society once intolerance and racism take hold." (Sir Martin Gilbert)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great, great story

Who cares if it's all entirely true or not, this is a great, great story. Funny at times, gruesome in spots, this book recounts the exploits of Avery during his time in British forces of WWII. I thought it was very well written and well read. The humor is of the dry, British sort, but this book kept me listening just to find out what else could happen to Ginger (Avery's assumed name). I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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- Pete

More Than Just A Break-In

Great book, but I was a little mislead by the title. I expected the ENTIRE book to be about how Denis Avey broke into Auschwitz and the tale of his experiences there; turns out it’s just a small part of his story and did not happen until almost half way through.

But that’s not a criticism; the story of his life was very interesting! The first half of the book recounts his time fighting in Libya and Egypt, his harrowing POW experiences, how he escapes a ship that was torpedoed in the Mediterranean, and how he ultimately found himself in a work camp in Poland - E715, near Auschwitz III. That’s were he meets the man with whom he will switch places on two occasions - ‘breaking in’ to Auschwitz.

Although his stay in Auschwitz was very brief, what impressed me the most was his drive and determination to do it – to be a witness and see things for himself. Amazing. His account was compelling, but honestly so is every survivor’s telling of their horrific concentration camp experiences.

I found myself more interested in his after-war life and how his story became public only about 60 years later. The search for people he knew during the war leads to the telling of the life story of Ernst/Ernie, a man he met in the camp and for whom he procured cigarettes. Turns out, those cigarettes saved Ernst’s life… I won’t get into the details of how, you have to read the book for that, but it felt like a great full-circle.
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- Simone

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-11-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio