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Book Review: The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz by Denis Avery


The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avery

This story is astonishing! Captured by Germans in the Second World War, Denis Avery ended up in a British POW labour camp, E715, near the site of Auschwitz III. He became aware that the plight of the people in Auschwitz was much worse than their own and he became determined to bear witness to what was going on inside their camp. He courageously swapped places with a young Jewish man, a man he called Hans, and he twice spent the night pretending to be him, leaving behind the safety of the British POW camp for the inhumane and brutal reality of this infamous concentration camp. He survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. But when Denis arrived back in Britain no one wanted to hear his stories, and even to his own ears his tales sounded too evil and bizarre to be true. But now he has finally told his story after sixty years of silence and in 2009 he was honoured with the British Hero of the Holocaust award.

This extraordinary memoir is a must-read. Despite its dark nature, it is ultimately a story of redemption, courage and hope in one of the world’s darkest hours. Denis Avery is an inspirational man and this is a surprisingly readable book. There is also the mystery of whether Hans survived – a mystery that kept me turning the pages to the very moving end.

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