• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland


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  • 24 June 2019

    On Monday June 24, 2019, the book launch for The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather—a biography of Witold Pilecki—was held at the General Consulate of the Republic of Poland. The book event, co-organized by the New York diplomatic mission, was accompanied by an exhibition about Captain Pilecki, produced by the General Consulate and the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw.

    The event began with the Polish Consul General in New York, Maciej Golubiewski, congratulating the author, remarking that, “The history of Witold Pilecki is still alive—a man of flesh and blood appears to us, and the book by author Fairweather will awaken the global awareness of the Captain’s heroism, who, as a volunteer to Auschwitz, tried to make the horrors of Konzentrationslager Auschwitz and other German concentration camps known to the world of that time. It also shows us the unique role of Poland during WWII, as it was a country forced to witness Hitler's murderous intentions towards Jews, a country that our allies did not listen to.”


    After the General Consul's welcome, the director of the Pilecki Institute, Dr. Wojciech Kozłowski, took the floor. He was thankful for the noble initiative and fruitful cooperation with the New York institution. Then, in the form of a multimedia presentation, the author Jack Fairweather presented the tale of Captain Pilecki—from his arrest by the Gestapo in September 1940 to his death at the hands of his communist tormentors in May 1948. The author's presentation included archival documents, photos, images, and even video of meetings with Pilecki's family and friends, which Fairweather recorded while researching of the book. After the presentation, the large audience and representatives of Polish and American media had the opportunity to talk to the author, as well as purchase a copy of the book and get it signed.


    The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather was published by HarperCollins on June 25, 2019. Its official book launch took place at the New York Consulate of the Republic of Poland. Pilecki’s biography, written by Washington Post and Daily Telegraph award-winning correspondent Jack Fairweather, is described as “the true story of the Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki infiltrating Auschwitz and his attempts to warn the Allies of the Nazis' plans for a ‘final solution’ before it was too late.”


    In order to discover the fate of thousands of prisoners murdered in the German concentration camp of Auschwitz, Pilecki—as a soldier of the Home Army, in close cooperation with the Polish underground state—volunteered: he took on a false identity, deliberately let himself be captured and was sent to the camp to find out what happened to his fellow countrymen who had been brought there. Collecting information in Auschwitz was not the Polish captain’s only mission: he was also supposed to perform an attack from the inside—where the Germans least expected it. During the next two and a half years, Witold Pilecki created an underground army in Auschwitz that sabotaged the facilities, killed German informers and officers, and collected evidence of terrifying abuse of prisoners and mass murders. But when Pilecki learned the terrifying truth that the camp was to become the epicenter of Hitler's plan for the total extermination of the Jews, he realized that he would have to risk his and his family's life to warn the Allies before everything was lost. To do this, Pilecki had to do the impossible—escape Auschwitz.


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