Escaping Hell


Escaping Hell is the compelling and true story of a heroic young Polish officer who survived the terror of five years in the prisons of Auschwitz and Buchenwald – where violence was meaningless because human life had lost all value.

During World War II, Kon Piekarski was a member of the Polish Underground Army, a clandestine resistance movement which operated even inside Auschwitz – organizing spectacular escapes, operating a secret radio network and matching wits with the Gestapo.

After Auschwitz, Piekarski became a prisoner of war at Buchenwald and spent time working in a factory where Russian prisoners of war were used for labour. In the face of constant danger, he and his comrades took every possible opportunity to sabotage the German war industry. He was finally transferred to a small camp near the French border, and escaped three months before the end of the war.


"What is particularly strinking about Escaping Hell is that Piekarski not only observed himself and his fellow prisoners so actuely and honestly, he even attempted to understand his captors and their motivation."

UW Gazette

About the Author

Kon Pierkarski

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Kon Pierkarski

After the war, Kon Pierkarski was educated at London and Iowa State Universities. He obtained his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Biomechanical Engineering from Cambridge. In 1951, he immigrated to Canada and is now a semi-retired professor at the University of Waterloo.