Eyewitness account from Auschwitz gets first Mandarin translation


WARSAW (JTA) — The report of a Polish non-Jew who escaped Auschwitz to deliver firsthand testimony of the Holocaust was translated into Mandarin for the first time.

The account by Witold Pilecki, a Polish army captain who escaped the death camp in 1943, appeared earlier this week in Taiwan, according to a report by Polskie Radio. The work in Mandarin is titled “The Auschwitz Volunteer – Beyond Bravery.”

“It is not the work of the victim of war but of a witness,” Patience Huang of Acropolis Publishers said on the website of Taiwan’s National Remembrance Institute. “Having read it, I realized that the history of Auschwitz, of World War II and of Poland cannot be complete without Pilecki.”

Pilecki allowed himself to be captured by German troops in 1940 in order to provide the anti-Nazi underground and their allies with reports from the camp.

On Dec. 10, 1942, the Polish government in exile in London issued the first public document of the Holocaust based on systematically collected and authenticated evidence, including accounts by Pilecki and fellow resistance fighter Jan Karski. In 1943, Pilecki reached Warsaw and began fighting in the Polish resistance.

After the war he went to Italy but returned to Soviet-dominated Poland, where he was executed in 1948 for espionage.

The book appeared ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, marking the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945.

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