Friday 1 September 2023

#Blogtour The Fighter of Auschwitz by Erik Brouwer

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Fighter of Auschwitz by Erik Brouwer.

About the Author

Erik Brouwer is a Dutch sports journalist and the author of eight historical non-fiction titles on topics as diverse as Argentine football and the actress Jetta Goudal. Spartacus, his book about Jewish Olympic athletes at the start of the Second World War, won the Nico Scheepmaker award for sports books in 2009.

About the book

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.


This is the story of Leen Sanders - the husband, the father, the boxer, the survivor and the fighter. The story of pain, loss and then drawing incredible strength to endure hell and with small acts of bravery, kindness and selflessness to help himself and others survive.

One of the saddest moments is the end of Leen's story. The fighter fought till the end for what was rightfully his - in fact the post-war ongoing damage and crimes committed upon the victims and survivors is devastating on another level. It wasn't enough to try and extinguish, in the aftermath there was no real justice and the reception the survivors received was one of disdain. No guilt, no apologies, just more injustice.

That Leen won his battle went unnoticed by him in the end, but perhaps he found some release from his private madness and rightful rage living in his Alzheimer induced pre-war reality. One can only hope he was able to forget the horror and atrocities for some moments, whilst the world should remember him for his endurance, strength and determination to survive and above all help others to do so too.

The author writes in what I would call I more factual journalistic style, which might not appeal to readers who prefer a more entertaining style. I found that it created a more realistic experience of the story - it's easy to forget we are talking about real people who experienced events we can't even begin to comprehend - a direct parallel drawn between the writing voice, the facts and the experiences. The author has made sure Leen will be remembered, that his footprint in history will never fade.

Buy The Fighter of Auschwitz by Erik Brouwer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Cassell; pub date August 17th 2023 | £8.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

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