By Denis Avey, Rob Broomby
Da Capo Press, $25.00, 264 pages
Just outside of Auschwitz III in 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW camp. While Avey was deprived of proper food, hard labor, and uncomfortable living conditions, he constantly heard about the even worse conditions in Auschwitz III and became determined to see it with his own eyes. After swapping uniforms with a prisoner, Avey spent two separate nights in Auschwitz…and survived.
Avey’s story is one that every WWII buff should read, for he is able to give an account of Auschwitz from an outside perspective. When he left the British POW camp to experience Auschwitz he knew that if he wasn’t caught, he would be returning to a slightly more comfortable bed, slightly better food, and less hard labor. He also knew that, if he was caught, he could die.
The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz begins slowly, with Avey giving the reader an extensive background of his time in the war before he entered the POW camp. Once he is in the POW Camp, however, and meets the Jewish prisoner that he eventually switches places with, as well as another whose life he ends up saving, the story is a page-turner. The book is a strong memoir of a British soldier’s experience in World War II and shows the reader what WWII did to the psyche of people… not to mention what people are capable of, both good and bad. If the reader can push through the first few chapters, they’ll find Avey’s story an incredible tale.