The Fighter of Auschwitz
The incredible true story of Leen Sanders who boxed to help others survive
by Erik Brouwer
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Pub Date 14 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2024
Octopus Publishing US, Cassell
**A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**
'He had the dream again last night... He taps the gloves of his unbeaten Polish opponent. There are rumours that the loser will be sent to the gas chamber.'
In 1943, the Dutch champion boxer, Leen Sanders, was sent to Auschwitz. His wife and children were put to death while he was sent 'to the left' with the others who were fit enough for labour. Recognised by an SS officer, he was earmarked for a 'privileged' post in the kitchens in exchange for weekly boxing matches for the entertainment of the Nazi guards. From there, he enacted his resistance to their limitless cruelty.
With great risk and danger to his own life, Leen stole, concealed and smuggled food and clothing from SS nursing units for years to alleviate the unbearable suffering of the prisoners in need. He also regularly supplied extra food to the Dutch women in Dr. Mengele's experiment, Block 10. To his fellow Jews in the camp, he acted as a rescuer, leader and role model, defending them even on their bitter death march to Dachau towards the end of the war.
A story of astonishing resilience and compassion, The Fighter of Auschwitz is a testament to the endurance of humanity in the face of extraordinary evil.