Jerzy Widera, born in 1918, was in his third year at Warsaw Polytechnic when the Second World War began. He quickly joined the clandestine resistance movement in his hometown of Częstochowa. As a result of betrayal by an informant, he was arrested by the Gestapo. After savage interrogation, he was sent to Auschwitz.
He worked in various labor kommandos in the camp before finally being assigned, owing to his engineering background, to the Baubüro Zentralbauleitung. There, he had access to plans for the expansion of the camp and to classified German correspondence.
He was transferred to the Gross-Rosen camp in October 1944, before being evacuated in a brutal evacuation march to the Buchenwald and Flossenbürg camps. He was liberated by the U.S. Army on German territory in 1945.
After the war, Jerzy Widera completed his technical studies in Stuttgart and then returned to Warsaw to rebuild his devastated country. He obtained advanced academic qualifications, becoming a faculty member and the author of professional studies. Only at a much later date did he decide to write memoirs of his wartime experiences. He has noted that recent international events and the specter of continued threats to human existence prompted him to put pen to paper.
In Extremis is the authentic, moving story of a man who unwillingly became a witness to the darkest events of the twentieth century.