British author of book about Polish WWII hero visits Warsaw

British author of book about Polish WWII hero visits Warsaw Will Oliver/PAP/EPA

British journalist and writer Jack Fairweather, who visited Warsaw to promote his book "The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero Who Infiltrated Auschwitz," noted that the first reports about the horrors in Auschwitz were prepared by Witold Pilecki.

Eighty years ago, the Germans arrested over 2,000 men in Warsaw. One of them was Witold Pilecki, who deliberately allowed himself to be captured by the Germans and to be sent to the Nazi German Auschwitz death camp to gather information about the camp and form an underground organisation there. He was the author of the so-called Witold's Report - the first comprehensive account of the atrocities committed at Auschwitz.

Fairweather attended a book promotion organised by the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw on Saturday. His biography of the Polish resistance won the Costa Book of the Year award for 2019.

Translated into Polish, the book ("Ochotnik. Prawdziwa historia tajnej misji Witolda Pileckiego") appeared in Polish bookshops in early September.

Pilecki was a Polish soldier in the pre-war Polish cavalry who, in German-occupied Poland, founded a Secret Polish Army resistance group in November 1939 and subsequently joined the 1942-formed underground Home Army (AK).

After escaping from Auschwitz, Pilecki informed the Western Allies about the atrocities taking place there. Later, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Arrested on May 8, 1947, by Poland's then communist authorities on charges of working for "foreign imperialism," he was sentenced to death after a show trial and executed. His burial site remains unknown.