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The Auschwitz Volunteer


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Table of Contents

CONTENTS Introduction by Norman Davies ... xi Foreword by Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland ... xv Translator's Introductory Note ... xix Publisher's Note ... xxiii Selected Highlights from Pilecki's 1945 Report ... xxix List of Maps ... xxxi Historical Horizon Captain Witold Pilecki: The Report, the Mission, the Man ... xxxiii Captain Pilecki's Covering Letter to Major General Tadeusz Pelczynski ... 1 Captain Witold Pilecki's 1945 Auschwitz Report ... 5 Appendices 1 Glossary of English, German and Polish Terms and Acronyms ...335 2 German-Language Positions and Ranks at Auschwitz Mentioned by Pilecki ...343 3 Index of People and Places Referred to by Pilecki with Either a Code Number or Letter ...345 4 Chronology of Pilecki's 1945 Report ...355 Index ...365 Discussion Questions ...397 LIST OF MAPS Europe 1939 ... vi Poland-September 1939 ... ix Occupied Poland 1939-1941 ... x Auschwitz and Environs-1944 ... 9 KL Auschwitz 1 ... 10 Pilecki's Escape Route from Auschwitz ...300

About the Author

Pilecki, Captain Witold (pronounced VEE-told pee-LETS-kee) Captain Witold Pilecki (1901-1948), a cavalry officer in the Polish Army, was one of the founders of a resistance organization in German-occupied Poland during World War II that quickly evolved into the Polish Underground Army. Pilecki is the only man known to have volunteered to get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz as a prisoner. His secret undercover mission for the Polish Underground: smuggle out intelligence about this new German concentration camp, and build a resistance organization among the inmates with the ultimate goal of liberating the camp. Barely surviving nearly three years of starvation, disease and brutality, Pilecki accomplished his mission before escaping in April 1943. Soon after his escape, Pilecki wrote two relatively brief reports for his Polish Army superiors about his time in Auschwitz. In 1945 he wrote his most comprehensive report of more than one hundred single-spaced typed foolscap pagesit is this last, most comprehensive, report which Aquila Polonica is publishing in English for the first time. Pilecki continued his work in the High Command of the Polish Underground Army, fought in the Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944), was taken prisoner by the Germans, and ended the war in a German POW camp. In late 1945, Pilecki, who was married and the father of two children, volunteered to return undercover to Poland where conditions were chaotic at war's end as the communists were asserting control. His mission this time: liaise with anti-communist resistance organizations and report back on conditions within the country. He was captured by the postwar Polish communist regime, tortured and executed in 1948 as a traitor and a Western spy." Pilecki's name was erased from Polish history until the collapse of communism in 1989. Pilecki was fully exonerated posthumously in the 1990s. Today he is regarded as one of Poland's heroes. Translator Bio Garlinski, Jarek Translator Jarek Garlinski was born in London, England, and grew up bilingual in English and Polish. His father was noted historian and author Jozef Garlinski, a former prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother Eileen Short-Garlinska was one of only a few Britons who spent World War II in Warsaw. Both parents served in the Polish Underground Army during the war. Educated at the University of Nottingham, the University of Grenoble, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London, Garlinski is fluent in English, French, Polish and Russian, with a distinguished career in education. Garlinski is a member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and has been decorated by the Polish Ministry of Defense and the Knights of Malta for services to Polish culture. He has translated numerous books of Polish literature and history, specializing in the World War II era.


"Earthshaking. A book which I hope will be widely read." - Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic & International Studies "A shining example of heroism that transcends religion, race and time...This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the Holocaust." - Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland "A real contribution to our understanding of the history of Poland under Nazi occupation." - Antony Polonsky, the Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University "An Allied hero who deserved to be remembered and celebrated." - Professor Norman Davies, historian and author (Vanished Kingdoms) "This remarkable book...may shock but will surely enlighten. Here is a portion of the Auschwitz story that needed to be told." - Gerhard L. Weinberg, the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, internationally recognized authority on Nazi Germany "One man volunteered for Auschwitz, and now we have his story...Pilecki's report on Auschwitz, unpublishable for decades in Communist Poland and now translated into English under the title "The Auschwitz Volunteer," is a historical document of the greatest importance." -- Timothy Snyder, Yale Professor, author of Bloodlands, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, June 24, 2012 "A historical document of the greatest importance." The New York Times "Editors' Choice" "Extraordinary." Maclean's (Canada)

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