We, the Taiwanese read and watched a lot of stories about Auschwitz, but never heard of the name Witold Pilecki - a man who voluntarily entered Auschwitz and described what he saw with his own eyes" - says the owner of the Taiwanese Publishing Acropolis Patience Huang.
Witold Pilecki was born in 1901 in Russia, where the tsarist authorities had exiled his family for their participation in the January Uprising of 1863-64. With calm deliberation, at 6am on a September morning, Witold Pilecki, an army officer with a wife and two children, walked into a German street round-up in Warsaw… and became Auschwitz Prisoner No. 4859. He had volunteered for a secret mission to smuggle out intelligence about the new German concentration camp in occupied Poland at Oświęcim - the village called Auschwitz by the Germans - and help build a resistance organisation amongst the prisoners. Barely surviving some three years of starvation, disease and brutality, Pilecki accomplished his mission before escaping in April 1943. Pilecki’s 1945 book, The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery was translated to English in 2012 by Aquila Polonica. The book will now be released in Chinese on 22 January.
Pilecki’s report is an amazing document. For me it is not a description of a victim, but a witness, and by reading it I learned that the real history of Auschwitz, the history of World War II, and Polish history are incomplete without Pilecki – emphasizes the editor of the upcoming release.
There had already been a concert and an exhibition by the Institute of National Remembrance devoted to the history of Pilecki, presented in 2011, during the International Book Fair in Taipei.
After escaping from the camp in 1943, Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising and was taken to Germany as a prisoner. In May 1947, accused of intelligence activities, he was arrested by the secret police. Pilecki was sentenced to death during the Communist era, and executed on May 15, 1948. However, his sentence was commuted by the Republic of Poland in 1990.
Watch the trailer for the book:
Edited by E.M. 22.01.2014