Summary and book reviews of The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz

A True Story of World War II

by Denis Avey, Rob Broomby

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2011, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2012, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III, to testify at first hand the atrocities occurring in the camp.

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

In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW labour camp, E715, 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 his sector of 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 labor.

Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek right 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 a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.

Editor's note: There has been some debate among critics and historians as to the accuracy of Denis Avey's account of his experiences in Auschwitz III. To find out more, check out the video interview with Avey in which he defends his work.

Chapter 1

I never joined up to fight for King and Country, though I was patriotic enough. No, I enlisted for the sheer hell of it, for the adventure. I had no idea how much hell there would be.

There was no sense of heroic departure when I went off to war. We left Liverpool on the troopship Otranto on a bright August morning in 1940 with no idea where we were headed.

I looked at the Royal Liver Building, across the broadening strip of brown Mersey water and wondered whether I would ever see the green Liver birds crowning it again. Liverpool had not seen much bombing then. It would get its share a month after I left, but for now it was largely a peaceful city. I was twenty-one years old and I felt indestructible. If I lose a limb, I promised myself, I am not coming home. I was a red-headed soldier with a temperament to match and it would get me into lots of trouble but that is just how I was.

I joined the army because I was in too much of a rush to join the RAF. The ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz has an eye-catching title and jacket copy, but each does the author a disservice. The exchange highlighted so prominently encompasses only 15 pages of the narrative, and it's a bit of a letdown compared to the rest of the author's experiences. This is a fascinating memoir that certainly engages the mind, if not the soul; it answers the question, "What happened?" as opposed to "What was it like?" Those who enjoy wartime chronicles will undoubtedly find much of interest in its pages. Is it a stand-out example of its genre? Not necessarily, but it is definitely an excellent addition to it.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review Members Only (759 words).

Media Reviews

Deseret News

Simple, moving, and gripping story that puts one into the death camps and on the death march.

Publishers Weekly

An excellent memoir of survival.

Kirkus Reviews

[A] plainspoken, moving story… a unique war story from a brave man.

Press Association (UK)

There are some who doubt his story but don't let that ruin this extraordinary book.

News of the World (UK)

His descriptions are terrifyingly vivid. His bravery in saving the life of a Jewish prisoner is inspiring

Canberra Times (Australia)

[A] strange, brave and bracing story.

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

Author Blurb Henry Kamm, New York Times correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner
Denis is a hero in time of terror, a man of limitless moral and physical courage.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

IG Farben Industries

Auschwitz was a huge complex that covered 40 square kilometers (25 square miles) near the town of Oswiecim, Poland. It was comprised of three sections: Auschwitz I, the base camp and central office; Auschwitz II, aka Birkenau, a concentration camp and crematorium; and Auschwitz III, aka Monowitz or Monowitz-Buna, a labor camp adjacent to a factory owned by IG Farben Industries where synthetic fuel and rubber were produced.

IG Farben FactoryIG Farben Industries was a German firm formed in 1925 by the merger of six separate companies. Originally specializing in dyes, the company branched out into synthetics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals over time. It grew along with Germany's Nazi Party, contributing heavily to it and working closely with party ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz, try these:

  • Zero Night jacket

    Zero Night

    by Mark Felton

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    On August 30, 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 Allied officers staged the most audacious mass escape of World War II. Told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this rip-roaring adventure is all the more thrilling because it really happened.

  • The Dog Who Could Fly jacket

    The Dog Who Could Fly

    by Damien Lewis

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts—ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!