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on 16 April 2017
I find it strange that this book, after reading and appreciating the content, is not available in hardback. I find that paperbacks beg to be read, man handled and abused while hardbacks last a lot longer and are preferable to some readers. I feel with the content this book provides a hardback reprint would be greatly welcomed and one I would add to my collection without a doubt.

I expected another account, as advertised on the cover, POW's account of his time at Auschwitz and instead got a whole lot more than I realised I was investing in, for the better. This book is split into five parts (Part 1 - Arthur's story, Part 2 - Other accounts, Part 3 - Snapshot from affidavits given under oath at Nuremberg, Part 4 - Responses to Arthur's story, Part 5 - The British governments treatment of survivors) and includes an Epilogue and a list of names of some, not all, British and commonwealth soldiers of whom witnessed the brutality of the "Final Solution."

I really would, after reading, consider this an informative account of not only Arthur's eyewitness account but also provides a greater depth of knowledge of the period in time surrounding the entire events also. Including the fact that Germany, post war, paid Britain on million pounds and not one penny was received by a "deserving recipient." It speaks of just how unprepared, as is said in the book by family members of British POW's, Britain was to deal with what the people that where returning to them had witnessed. It's said, across many books, just how unwilling the people back home where to listen to what the returning POW's and witnesses of genocide had to tell. I dare to imagine the sheer horror of having to endure such sights but then also not being able to talk about them not only through their own inability for one reason or another but also because no one wanted to witness, a great injustice. I thank only that through time we have arrived in our current year and have knowledge, in detail, about such times and are no longer prepared to shut out those of whom had to endure what they did. I feel appreciation also that those who, after enduring the aforementioned, are willing to re-tell their stories years on.

Things that stick out to me was the Allied bombing of Auschwitz that killed some British POW's in the air raid shelter. Also the fact Arthur escaped and bombed part of the complex, I did not note what part down although is included in the book, three nights in a row and then escaped gun fire on the fourth, or fifth night, when attempting to aid in the escape of Jews only surviving because the gunfire was aimed at the Jews on the other side and not the three men, Arthur being one, on the outside. An event he only got away with because the camp commanders realised that if the truth got out not only would heads roll on the British side but also that they'd be sent to the front line to fight. What you have to understand is that many ordinary German soldiers hated the SS officers at such camps because they had comfy and luxurious lifes away from the front line and therefore no threat to their life was posed. I dare to say that the only thing the SS feared where being sent to fight where the enemy could fight back, cowards, amongst other things, of the highest possible level. The detail of a British POW dressing in a striped uniform to push an SS officer 50 foot of the top of a construction building to his death, into cement, is another note that stuck out. The British POW did so because he'd witnessed the SS officer do the same thing to a tired, and near death, Jew.

Lest we not forget the sabotage, genius at that, attempts of the POW's to kill any aid given towards the German war effort.

I really enjoyed reading this to the point I took it out, and not often do I, in public because I didn't want to put it down. I realised not very long in at all that the style that this book is written in would have me gripped from page one until the end, and boy did it.

Thanks to Arthur for putting pen to paper and the author for including such depth of knowledge in one volume on a topic that could probably have a lifetime spent attempting to understand and acknowledge each and every detail. Very much a great addition to any collection of books relating to such a time and topic of history without a doubt. A steal for such a low price truth be told.
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on 8 March 2017
I have always been interested in reading ww1 and ww2 books so this is the latest to join my collection, I have started reading it and I'm gripped. The start took a bit of getting into but by chapter 3/4 I was hooked and can't put it down.
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on 9 November 2013
Until l read this book l had no idea that there were British POWs in Auschwitz, l am ashamed that our government knew and did nothing to help these brave soldiers on their return to England. I also think it's a outrage that we were not taught about this in our history class's.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 April 2015
A spine chilling tale of a British POW experience during the second world war and of his experiences at Auschwitz; none of which will come as a surprise as the events are well documented, but all the more compelling due to his recollection of the events and published by Colin Rushton.

It is relatively short and I suppose it is a testament to the hardship endured rather than the quality of the writing which has resulted in me awarding this 5 stars. A good short and well portrayed diary of events, in particular the role of the overseers and involvement of many others, which results in a stark portrayal of human nature and survival.

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on 30 May 2013
I always enjoy reading books relating to the world wars especially those from ex prisoners of war, this was as enjoyable and informative as any I have read. Although Arthur is no longer with us he was an extremelly brave man and one to be very much admired.
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on 3 February 2013
This is one of many many books i have read on WWII but this is the best, it is both graphic,harrowing and leaves you both sickened and in awe of humanity at the same time, sickened at the brutality and just downright sickening side of the treatment of the camp, and in awe of the superhuman effort to stay alive and actually in some cases their ability to look at the good in thier treatment which by any standards is a saint like quality in itself.
should be required reading in schools as far as im concerned just to show kids what people actually sacrificed for thier freedoms they enjoy today.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2017
I have to confess I was barely aware that there were British POWs held in Auschwitz (and I'm speaking as someone who has visited the death camp and read a number of books about or featuring it or other concentration camps). There were a little over 1,000, held in a third part of the huge Auschwitz-Birkenau site called Monowitz (of which almost nothing now remains). The conditions in which they were kept were harsh by any ordinary standards, though much less so than the majority Jewish population of the complex. This is the story of Arthur Dodd, an army driver (he couldn't fight as his foot had been crushed in an accident). It is partly the story of the horrible things he witnessed being done to the Jewish prisoners, the smell of the ovens and so forth; but it is also the story of resistance against the odds both in relatively small matters such as sabotaging the machines on which they worked or passing a spare piece of bread to a starving Jew; to bigger resistance such as attacking a guard to try to stop them beating a Jew to death; or even greater, working with Polish partisans to destroy an electrical plant in the camp to sabotage the Nazi war effort. Arthur faced death many times and did not expect to survive the war as he thought the Nazis would never let the POWs live to tell the things they saw. But survive he did and after marching west, eventually got to Brussels where, scandalously, he was arrested by military police and spent a night in prison for, believe it or not, not having preserved his rifle and equipment during his incarceration. His trials were not over when he returned home as his father had married again and his new stepmother refused to let him in the house, having sold all his possessions; and he and his fellow returnees received little or no support from the military authorities or government. Being plagued by nightmares, deep depression and suicidal thoughts in later years, he eventually started to come to terms with what he had seen and witnessed after talking about it to local groups in the early 1980s (when he had tried to do so immediately after the war, he had been rejected as listeners wanted only to hear tales of bravery and derring-do). His book Spectator in Hell, an earlier version of this book, followed in the 90s and then a TV documentary in 2000 which opened the minds of many viewers to the fact that there had even been British POWs in Auschwitz. In doing so, he was performing a valuable service in telling the world about the experiences of these witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust.
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on 18 July 2013
There are many heroes in this book, but one I can't get out of my mind is sergeant Andy. I can imagine him marching up and down the line of desperate people encouraging them to keep going! What an inspiring character.
Arthur Dodds did a fantastic job telling his story. A friend recommended this book as I had no idea there had been British pow' s at Auschwitz, even though I'd visited there and read a few books on it. It was a different perspective on the horrors that took place there .
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on 1 September 2016
A must read for anyone interested in the story of the concentration camps of the Second World War or the plight of British POW's. You do not need to be a history buff to appreciate this book - I nearly wrote "enjoy" but anyone with any humanity within them could not enjoy the suffering of either the civilian inmates or that of the POW but they can in some small way try to comprehend the suffering and appreciate the pain that these people went through. I for one am grateful to every single serviceman and woman who put their life on the line for the future freedom of mankind. This book enabled me to get close to the thinking of a normal everyday Brit forced into a nightmare,, not of his own making
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on 27 May 2015
not many people even today including myself knows that English prisoners were held there, excellent story told well, all if not most is backed up by other prisoners eye opener for many who read this book astonishingly no compensation was given or even care and recognition of what they went through but the p o w s showed compassion to others at the cost of themselves we should be told of these event and not hide the horror most recommended for ww11 readers
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