29 Mar 2014



SOURCE: Ex-library book.

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into Buna-Monowitz, the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III 

Denis Avey was being held in a POW labour camp 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 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 labour.

Astonishingly, he survived

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.
...... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Foreward}: This is a most important book, a timely reminder of the dangers that face society once intolerance and racism take hold.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 14}: Now Eddie was a public school type who could barely utter the word lavatory never mind clean one. When he found out the weapon of choice was to be the toilet brush he wasn't best pleased ....

MY THOUGHTS: Knowing about the notoriety surrounding this book - it has been claimed that much of it is fictional, that the author (imprisoned in the nearby labour camp known as E517 and not the infamous death camp itself) did not break into Auschwitz - I was intrigued to hear the story from the horses mouth as it were.  

With the main part of the book revolving around Avey's time spent pre-incarceration and the final few chapters chronicling what happened when he met up with the sister of the man he had helped all those years previously disappointingly very little of the book actually revolves around the two nights he claims to have spent in Auschwitz.

And worse still, written some seventy years after the actual events, the book is full of inconsistencies - the fact that Avey claims never to have opened any letters received but then goes on to vividly recall the contents of at least one, that he claims no real names were used in the camps ('it was safer that way') and yet, just as with the letter, later goes on to recall several of the names of fellow detainees - but then as the author himself writes 'I can barely recall where we were or what we were doing'.

Fact or partly fictitious? I don't suppose we'll even truly know but one thing I will say is that given for the main part this reads like a Boy's Own story full of the derring-dos of one man there are better and I would suggest more reliable books on the subject out there.

PS Open to both UK and International entrants you only have until 12 midnight GMT tonight (March 29th) to enter the IN Bloom giveaway HERE.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Kelly said...

If all were completely factual, this could be an amazing book. It sounds like there are far too many questions and inconsistencies, though.

Betty Manousos said...

hi tracy,

it sounds like a remarkable story.
a wonderful memoir of survival.
thanks so much for your great review.

big hugs! xx

So many books, so little time said...

It sounds like it had the potential to be a really good book but after your review I think I would wait until I come upon it rather than seeking it out.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Shooting Stars Mag said...

sounds like a good story if you could believe it all, but not knowing would drive me nuts.

Naida said...

That's too bad about the inconsistencies.

Brian Joseph said...

I saw this in the bookstore and was curious about it. I did not know about the controversy over its credibility. I am glad that your review exposes some of the shortcomings of the work.

Literary Feline said...

How interesting! The very subject of this book would have me wanting to read it, but given the controversy (which I haven't heard--nor am I familiar with the book), and what you've written here about it, I am not sure I would want to bother.

Arti said...

This sounds like a very good book Tracy.
Your review is great as usual too, have a lovely day :)

Gina R said...

Meh. I was interested until the inconsistencies showed up. Oh well. Thanks for the share anyhow!