The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery | Witold Pilecki | Audiobook Review

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

I listened to the audiobook of The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery by Witold Pilecki because essentially it was assigned for something kind of secret that I am taking part in. I canít really tell you guys until it is over. Anyways, of the books I was assigned I decided to listen to this book first because I find the Holocaust horrifying and I have always been interested in why and how humans could be so terrible and carry out such awful deeds. So, I listened to The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery based upon my interest level in the subject matter, which you guys is quite fascinating.

The Auschwitz Volunter

What Is It All About?

Witold Pileckiís The Auschwitz Volunteer is about how he essentially volunteered, for the Polish Underground, to be arrested by the Nazis to report on the concentration camp Auschwitz, which had just been opened. Pilecki smuggled intelligence reports on just what was going on in Auschwitz, providing very early eyewitness accounts. The book is basically the expanded version of Pileckiís reports. It is an absolutely harrowing, terrifying account of what it was like in the camp from what happened to POWs, what happened to political prisoners, and what happened to the Jews in the camp. Honestly, I am amazed and humbled by Pileckiís experiences and at how he voluntarily went into Auschwitz and voluntarily underwent such brutal, awful treatment. You guys, that is beyond heroic.

What Did I Learn?

Iíve read a lot about the Holocaust and in fact wrote a very long grade-making essay in college about Mengeleís medical experimentation. However, I have not read very much about political prisoners and their treatment at Auschwitz. What I learned is that yes, political prisoners were certainly treated better than the Jews and the Soviets, but better is a relative term. There was still the worry of death. SS officers were still murderous. What sticks out to me and this is random, was that the political prisoners were able to receive money and packages from their families. I also found it so interesting that Pilecki was able to connect with other members in the Underground movement in camp and was able to coordinate small rebellions and to coordinate getting his intelligence reports out.

He also writes about how the Nazis would basically steal the personal effects of those being processed into the camp and they would go into a storehouse called Canada Ė which yes, I have heard about before but again, itís sort of a reinforcement of that knowledge.

Pilecki describes the horrors and atrocities in such a matter of fact fashion that it sort of makes it all the worse to read it described so dispassionately. I guess there wasnít a ton of new information in this book, but I listened to it as though I was listening to a primary document and as far as primary documents go, this is one fascinating and ultimately scary read. I mean, just what humans are capable of is awful to me and scary.

How Is The Narration?

Unfortunately, the narration left something to be desired to me. I wish that I had read a physical copy of the book as opposed to† the audio edition. The readers are Marek Probosz,†Ken Kliban,†John Lee, and†Jarek Garlinski. I have no clue who the main narrator was. So, this is all about the main person who narrated the bulk of the book.†The narrator had a Polish accent which is fine and makes sense but sometimes it was hard to understand what he was saying. He also has a very staccato sort of narration and I would have liked more emotion. I also didnít think the production quality was all that great, like it sounded like old footage or something when you listen to it. Eh. If you want to listen to the audio it is time 9 hours and 58 minutes unabridged and produced by Audible, inc.

Disclosure: Review Copy Provided.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.



    Oh yeah, the political prisoners are not something I know as much about, which was something interesting about Rose Under Fire.

    Oooh, yikes, I like accents, but if you can’t understand what they’re saying… Also, I’m guessing that they intended it to sound like old footage? I mean, Audible generally does a good job with production. Either way, that’s not great. Boo.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted..Review: OutpostMy Profile

  2. I’m still in awe that this guy volunteered to be put in Auschwitz. That’s something very brave, and something I admire a lot, particularly since it gave some idea of what life was like there.
    Alexa Y. recently posted..Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always – Elisa Janine Hoole (Mini-Review)My Profile

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