The Volunteer: One Man, An Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz,
by Jack Fairweather.
Reviewed by Jan Peczkis
Widely Publicized Book Smuggles-In Many Pilecki-Irrelevant Statements: Canned Attacks on Poles and Poland
This seemingly fair book has been read and praised by quite a few Poles, but apparently few of them have noted its dubious content. This may be because Poles are so used to being demeaned that they pay no attention to it, or they brush it off as something inevitable.
The Volunteer is not just about Witold Pilecki. It features author Jack Fairweather including things that have nothing to do with Pilecki or his mission, and repeating the standard Pole-blaming memes, such as:
• Poland’s presumed bad treatment of her PreWWII minorities (pp. 8-9). [“Bad”–compared with what?]
• Boycotts of Jews (p. 9) [All context-free. Ever hear of Jewish economic dominance?]
• Prewar Polish violence against Jews (p. 9). [Insignificant. Mentioning it trivializes the Holocaust].
• Polish anti-Semitism (p. 22) [What else?]
• Physical Polish attacks on Jews during the German Occupation (pp. 40-41) [Judeocentric contextual vacuum: Mountains out of molehills.]
• Polish doctors, at Auschwitz, treating Jewish patients “quickly” (p. 136) [Who is holding the stopwatch?]
• Nazis did not do systematic murder on Poles, only on Jews (p. 177) [Absolutely false]
• Polish killings of Jews in the east, and Poles suppressing facts about it (p. 184) [What killings? How so?]
• Gratuitous remarks about “Poland’s prewar inequality” (p. 227) [Compared with what?]
• Insinuation that “Polish nationalists” wanted to keep Auschwitz as a symbol of Polish suffering (p. 289) [And why not? Do Jews validly monopolize Auschwitz?]
• Wholesale Nazi German extermination of Poles “ruled out” (p. 293) [Absolutely false]
• Polish staff at Auschwitz giving verbal jabs, and kicks, to the Jews to show them they are the ones on the bottom of the Nazi German hierarchy (p. 327) [Wild anecdotal tales]
• AK Commander Bor Komorowski “generally avoided confronting the anti-Semitic elements of the resistance” (p. 357) [Manipulative. And who was Bor: A politically correct thought policeman, or an Underground military commander?]
• Poles killing Jews during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (p. 384, 498-499) [Long Debunked]
• Polish Underground not investigating such alleged killing of Jews (p. 384) [For what purpose? Why not investigate Jews killing Poles?]
• Postwar Auschwitz treated by Poles “on Christian terms” (p. 400) [What was it to be? On Buddhist terms?]
• Postwar Polish looters at Jewish murder sites (p. 401) [Happened everywhere as a result of the war–and not only to Jews]
• Poles blame Jews for Communism (p. 402). [For good reason.]
• Witold Pilecki never saw the suffering of Jews as a symbol of humanity (p. 413). [Amazing and racist. Who decreed that Jews are a “symbol of humanity”? While of course Poles are not?]
• Complaints about Jews being an “unwanted element” among Poles (p. 443) [Ever heard of Jewish separatism?]
• Witold Pilecki’s semi-derogatory characterizations of Jews (p. 469) [Innuendo]
• Polish Underground not mentioning the Jewishness of the Sonderkommando and their revolt (p. 483) [Horror of horrors.]
• Polish anti-Semitism yet again (p. 496) [And, of course, nothing about Jewish Polonophobia.]
Unfortunately, Fairweather lacks discernment. In the Bibliography, there are anti-Polish “authorities” such as Anna Bikont (p. 507), Michal Cichy (p. 508), David Engel (p. 510), Barbara Engelking (p. 510), Jan T. Gross (p. 512), and Communist Shmuel Krakowski (p. 513).
UPDATE (March 2021)
A movie has come out, titled Auschwitz Report, about two Slovak Jew escapees from Auschwitz. Its title is identical to Pilecki’s Auschwitz Report, and it is a thinly veiled attempt to steal the thunder from Witold Pilecki.
There are many better books about Witold Pilecki. For instance, there is BEYOND BRAVERY by Pilecki himself (see my review):