Witold Pilecki's book among WSJ's best wartime secret mission reports
The Wall Street Journal has included Witold Pilecki's "The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery" book among the five best publications devoted to wartime secret missions.
The daily stresses the almost unimaginable bravery of Polish cavalry officer Witold Pilecki, who decided to get himself arrested by the Nazis, be delivered to Auschwitz, and, once there, build a resistance group and collect intelligence on the camp.
The New York-based daily noted that Pilecki was straight away treated brutally by the Nazis. On his arrival, he failed to hold his prison number properly; as punishment, Pilecki recounts, “I was hit on the chin with a heavy club. I spat out the two [front] teeth."
"This posthumously published report, and those Pilecki smuggled out before his daring escape, were some of the first to reveal the horrors of the Final Solution," the WSJ wrote.
In the first place, the paper puts the 1960 book "Seven Men at Daybreak" by Alan Burgess, which is followed by Pilecki's report, "Operation Mincemeat" by Ben Macintyre (2010), "At Dawn We Slept" by Gordon W. Prange (1981) and "Ghost Soldiers" by Hampton Sides (2001).
Pilecki's book was extremely well received in US media. The New York Times named it its Editors' Choice and a historical document of the highest value. The publication also received very favourable reviews from New Republic, Atlantic and Publishers Weekly.
"The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery" won prestigious US awards, including an award by the Association of American Publishers - PROSE Award and a Silver Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. The volume has also been distinguished by the History Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club and Military Book Club.