The untold story of British POWs held captive in the Nazis' most infamous death camp
The huge Auschwitz camp in Poland, the Third Reich's most gruesome death camp, contained not only the infamous concentration camp - whose horrors are well-documented - but also a prisoner-of-war facility that housed British inmates. Situated close enough to the Jewish quarters to smell the stench of burning bodies from the crematoria, the POWs were forced to work alongside concentration camp inmates in a Nazi factory. Witnesses to daily violence, the men survived beatings, hard labour and the extreme cold of Polish winters, whilst subsisting on meagre rations. Their final ordeal was to march hundreds of miles, in the depths of winter, to secure freedom in the spring of 1945.
Based on interviews with some of the few surviving members of E715 Auschwitz, this book charts the British captives' true story: from arriving on cattle trucks through to their eventual departure on foot. Haunted by what they had witnessed as young men, Brian Bishop, Doug Bond and Arthur Gifford-England were only able to speak about their experiences decades later, when approached during research for this book. Few people were interested in these remarkable men in post-war Britain, and they were left to cope with the trauma of their experiences with little support.
Allies in Auschwitz records an important and forgotten episode of modern history. As corroboration of the men's testimony, the final chapter includes post-war accounts from other British POWs held in E715 Auschwitz, based on documents compiled by war crimes' investigators for the Nuremburg Trials.
DUNCAN LITTLE studied History at the University of Surrey from 1993 to 1996 before heading to Falmouth College of Arts where he qualified as a broadcast journalist in 1997. In the same year he started his career in television at ITV Westcountry, where he worked in news and current affairs. He researched, produced and directed the highly acclaimed West Country Top Secret television series which examined world, national and regional events during the Cold War. The six programmes won a 'Special Jury REMI Award' at the 2005 WorldFest International Film Festival. He continues to work both in news production and in the making of factual programmes.
Published in the UK by Clairview Books, November 2009
£9.99; 96pp; 21.5 x 13.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781905570218