There are a lot of historical accounts of the experiences of prisoners in World War II. This one stands out. Denis Avey a British war veteran. He is a...moreThere are a lot of historical accounts of the experiences of prisoners in World War II. This one stands out. Denis Avey a British war veteran. He is an eye witness to the war in north Africa against the Italians & Germans, saw both friends & foe die before his eyes and escaped from his captors several times when he was a P.O.W. The tales he tells are harrowing and the stuff of Hollywood movies - it is easy to see a young solider struggling to stay afloat in the Mediterranean sea or racing across Greece away from his enemies.
Eventually Avey is placed in a P.O.W. camp adjacent to the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz. There, he does forced labor to help the German war effort. However, he and the other British soldiers sabotage the items they manufacture. (This reminded me of a similar story told to me by a friend's grandpa. He was a P.O.W. and was supposed to mix sand and concrete. The P.O.W.s purposefully mixed it wrong so the structures they built were unstable.) He meets some Jewish prisoners who are being slowly worked to death. According to Avey, he trades places with one Jewish prisoner twice during his stay in the camp to bear witness to the unspeakable conditions there.
The story telling is by turns poignant, captivating and heartbreaking. The experiences were traumatic, and living with the past was obviously difficult.
Things that may be confusing to readers are some of the British phrases or terms. There are also some military terms that may be unclear.
A Google search will give you access to several news articles about reported discrepancies in Avey's story - dates, locations, etc. (These are further discussed in the blogs of Holocaust deniers.) I don't know what the answers to the remaining questions are. Readers will have to do research and make decisions for themselves.