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May 20, 2024

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Wall Street Journal Names
The Auschwitz Volunteer
One of “Five Best” Books

Los Angeles, California, August 22, 2016 — The Wall Street Journal’s “Five Best” feature names The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery by Captain Witold Pilecki as one of the five best books on wartime secret missions.

The Auschwitz Volunteer, published by Aquila Polonica Publishing in 2012, is the first time that Witold Pilecki’s most comprehensive report about his secret undercover mission at Auschwitz has been published in English. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times describes Pilecki as “one of the great heroes of the 20th century.”

The book garnered rave reviews from major media. Here’s a sample:

– New York Times (where it was chosen as Editors’ Choice)—“a historical document of the greatest importance.”
– New Republic—“extraordinary…deserves to be read alongside the accounts of Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel.”
– Atlantic—“fascinating.”
– Publishers Weekly—“remarkable revelations.”
– Jewish News—“a historical document of singular importance…Certain to become a standard reference work in every major Holocaust library collection.”
– Tablet Magazine—“a work of supreme importance.”

The Germans opened the Auschwitz concentration camp in June 1940. Members of the Polish Underground rounded up by the Germans soon began disappearing into the camp. In September of that year, Pilecki, an army officer in the Underground, volunteered for an almost certainly suicidal secret mission: to get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz as a prisoner, where his mission was to smuggle out intelligence and build a resistance network among the prisoners.

Barely surviving nearly three years of starvation, disease and brutality, Pilecki accomplished his mission before escaping in April 1943. His clandestine intelligence reports from the camp, received by the Allies as early as 1941, were among the first eyewitness evidence of what was going on at Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz Volunteer won the prestigious PROSE Award for Autobiography & Memoir from the Association of American Publishers (the only independently published book to win a PROSE Award that year), as well as a Silver Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. It was a Featured Selection of the History Book Club and a Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Military Book Club, and has been translated into several languages, including German, Portuguese, Italian, and both complex and simple Chinese.

Pilecki and his book have been the focus of numerous events, including the 2013 International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The book carries an introduction by Professor Norman Davies and a foreword by the Chief Rabbi of Poland. It is available in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook and audiobook. More info at: Watch the trailer on YouTube: .

The WSJ “Best Five” feature, as it appeared in the print edition on August 20, 2016, can be read at  The online version, which appeared on August 22, 2016, is available at


Aquila Polonica Publishing,, is an award-winning independent publisher based in Los Angeles, specializing in publishing the Polish WWII experience in English. The company is a member of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Aquila Polonica’s titles are distributed to the trade in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, Australia and New Zealand by National Book Network,, and are available from fine bookstores, online retailers, and all major wholesalers.