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The Volunteer

The True Story of the Resistance Hero Who Infiltrated Auschwitz
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

Non-member price: $36.45

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The 2019 Costa Book of the Year and Biography Winner.

How do you keep fighting in the face of unimaginable horror?

Narrated by David Rintoul, this is the untold story of one of the greatest heroes of the Second World War.

In the summer of 1940, after the Nazi occupation of Poland, an underground operative called Witold Pilecki accepted a mission to uncover the fate of thousands of people being interred at a new concentration camp on the border of the Reich. 

His mission was to report on Nazi crimes and raise a secret army to stage an uprising. The name of the detention centre - Auschwitz.

It was only after arriving at the camp that he started to discover the Nazis' terrifying designs. Over the next two and a half years, Witold forged an underground army that smuggled evidence of Nazi atrocities, culminating in the mass murder of over a million Jews, to the West. His reports from the camp were to shape the Allies response to the Holocaust - yet his story was all but forgotten for decades. 

This is the first major account of his amazing journey, drawing on exclusive family papers and recently declassified files as well as unpublished accounts from the camp’s fighters to show how he saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

The result is an enthralling story of resistance and heroism against the most horrific circumstances and one man’s attempt to change the course of history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Jack Fairweather (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Volunteer

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part of the history you thought you knew

growing up listening, watching and reading everything I could about our past wars I thought I had a grasp on most of what had happened in our history... this opened my eyes to how much there is still to be told... how much still needs to be told

1 person found this helpful

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Dry and dull

I have enjoyed other concentration camp books but this one is too dry and dull. Stopped listening after 3 hours.

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Wow

A powerful story go people doing something to redefining the evils of war. Excellent from start to finish Determination of a few to save many. narration excellent as wel

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  • Mr P. Cordier
  • 19-02-2020

As devastating as it is epic.

An extraordinary account of the war and the Holocaust and a history so devastating that it's hard to believe it happened at all.

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  • Philippa
  • 08-07-2019

Absolutely brilliant

A gripping and unique narrative brilliantly wending the story of an incredible man at the epicentre of one of the darkest times of human history with the broader political setting. And a call to moral courage which surpasses history.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Steven Brown
  • 20-08-2019

A hard dose of reality

This book is brilliantly structured and read, leading the reader not only chronologically through the facts of the story, but engaging the reader emotionally to the horror of what happened in Auschwitz. Additionally, the story reflects the realities of the human condition, not only the inherent desire to protect and help fellow humans, but the darker reality that almost anyone is capable of unspeakable cruelty, and that the most dedicated and selfless individuals are often abandoned by the very people they sacrificed everything for once circumstances demand their leaders show the same level of sacrifice.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Vail
  • 30-07-2019

Awesome Book

This is a superb listen

Brilliantly written

I was truly engaged through out

The horrors endured and the bravery of individuals

A story of a man who loved his country and stood up against tyranny

David Rintoul narrates this book wonderfully

I shall be seeking out other books he has narrated

You won’t be disappointed

Sit down relax and enjoy

Witold’s story needs to be heard

9 people found this helpful

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  • RookieBook'ie
  • 03-07-2019

It's a truth beyond belief and a hero who lived it

Ultimately it will show you how much good we are still capable of and how that is so important today.
if you have in any way come to contact wit concentration camps (German, Russian, Chinese or any other) topic or would like to know one of the least known but most unbelievable and amazing stories of the WW2, you need to read this.
This book will help you understand so much more about German Death Camps and will restore your faith in other people at the same time.
I would love to see a well made movie based on this book; it reads like a the best of page turner thrillers.

7 people found this helpful

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  • St Comgall
  • 19-08-2019

Great story, well told.

I found this to be a compelling and insightful account. I have read a number of Jewish accounts of Auschwitz so it was fascinating to read a different perspective. Witold Pilecki, the hero of this account, was a Catholic Pole, and so his experience of the horrors of Auschwitz was necessarily different from that of Jewish victims, to whose murder he was a crucial witness. I learnt a great deal about daily life in the camp and about Poland's experience of occupation. Anyone with an interest in Nazi Germany, the Second World War, Polish history or the Holocaust will appreciate this book. The narrator also does an excellent job.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Sigrin
  • 03-03-2020

Real history, lest we forget


Mans inhumanity to man never ceases to be understandable.

I really sometimes wonder what genes or personality traits lead to this behavior and why this person or movement of people do not question themselves.

This is an outstanding piece of history that needs to told and the understood by all. Unfortunately it will only be a few who seek this out and will be the wiser of these amazing brave souls.

These men were the real stars, no mollycoddling just real héros of their day. Unfortunately they have probably all died without many of us really knowing what they truly did for us all.

I do wonder in this day and age of the generation behind their screens if we have any of these stoic real heroes who could think out of the box, make do with little put their life on the line for others and truly succeed at their goals......

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mary-Jane McKechnie
  • 02-01-2020

inspired

Heartbreaking, difficult to remember it wasn't fiction at times. I could not put it down.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Bob
  • 20-02-2020

A very difficult subject unbelievable bravery

What a story, no history brilliantly written by the author and ab awesome narration. I have read of many brave stories fro the second world war specifically people trying to protect people from being sent to the camps. But this is amazing, although about one man it actually defines the absolute bravery of 100s of men, in the most outrageous of conditions and deprivation, all of which is impossible to comprehend.

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  • Jane McNulty
  • 03-09-2019

Excellent!

An encompassing book, very well written and very well narrated.
Everyone should read this book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Janice Mack
  • 08-09-2019

Informative and very disturbing.

This was a great lsten in the sense that it is well written and well read. It is a true account of the extent of the sacrifices one man would make for his beloved Poland. Heartwrenchingly sad.

5 people found this helpful