Introduction: Witness to Auschwitz (02:38)
Denis Avey received the British Hero of the Holocaust award because he saved the life of a Jewish prisoner. Critics dispute Avey’s claim that he smuggled himself into Auschwitz to gather firsthand knowledge of the treatment of the Jews. The Germans captured Avey in North Africa. (Credits)
Prisoner of War (02:31)
The Nazis detained Avey at a camp next to Auschwitz and forced him to build a factory for IG Farben with the "stripies." Because Ave smuggled cigarettes to a man named Ernst, the Jewish inmate was able to get his boots fixed, which saved his life on a death march.
Idea to Break In (04:26)
Avey spoke with a "stripey" named Hans who looked similar to him, and asked to trade places. There were multiple concentration camps named Auschwitz around the city of Oswiecim. He bribed the Kapo with cigarettes and made sure his head was shaved.
Could Avey Break into Auschwitz (04:19)
Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz describes how little remains of the original concentration camp. Prisoners of war looked much healthier than Jews in concentration camps. Brian Bishop explains why he is critical of Avey's account.
Avey's Silence After the War (03:06)
Matthias Reiss explains that after the war was over, soldiers and civilians did not want to talk about the atrocities. Avey claims that he was unaware of the Nuremberg Trials. Avey finally spoke about his experiences in 2001.
The Story Changed (03:33)
Lynn Smith of the Imperial War Museum explains that there were discrepancies in Avey's story. Avey claims he misspoke. Rob Broomby, a BBC journalist and co-author of Avey's book, believes Avey's account.
Firsthand Accounts (04:31)
Reiss describes the importance of accuracy in personal accounts of Auschwitz. Avey celebrates his 93rd Birthday and speaks at the Nicky Alliance Day Center. Holocaust survivors discuss their experiences and argue about the veracity of Avey's account.
Do Not Blame the Witnesses (03:23)
Experts debate the merits and disadvantages to firsthand accounts. Avey is glad he came forward and told his story.
Credits: Witness to Auschwitz (00:43)
Credits: Witness to Auschwitz
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