It started a couple of weeks ago when I saw a documentary made by Hannah Lovell and Katy Carr about Kazimierz Piechowski. He was a 20-year-old Polish scout who was arrested when the Nazis invaded his country. He was taken to Auschwitz and went on to escape in the most incredible way.
The statistics, like everything to do with Auschwitz, are unspeakably grim. 1,100,000 human beings passed through Auschwitz.
Hard to imagine, but think about pennies. A million pennies packed close would fill the entire volume of a family-size refrigerator, including the freezer.
804 people tried to escape from Auschwitz.
144 people were successful. £1.44p.
Kazik and his three friends were four of them. They stole Rudolf Hess’s car and some SS uniforms and literally drove out of the gate.
The story has been haunting me and the more I find out, the more upsetting and horrific are the details that come to light. I fear that no matter how I tackle this story I run the risk of offending or upsetting someone. With so much horror how could it be otherwise?
I want to find a way of depicting this tale without being sensational. I don’t want to talk about the camp at all; I think it can’t actually be comprehended without personal experience. Any effort to shock is just cheap; the hell of it goes beyond words like ‘hell’.
I will be telling the story this summer.
(The photo at the top of this entry shows a Styer 220 similar to the one taken by Kazik and his friends.)