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Nov 3, 2023

You Don’t Know What War Is has been nominated for the Polish Witold Pilecki International Book Award in the special prize category

Yeva Skalietska’s

The award is presented to authors of the best scholarly and reportage books published in 2022 in Polish or English that examine the Polish experience of two totalitarian systems. In addition, in view of the dramatic events unfolding beyond Poland’s eastern border, the special prize at this edition will be awarded to books on Russia’s 2014 aggression against Ukraine or illustrating the ongoing protests in Belarus following the rigged presidential elections in 2020.

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As a soldier, resistance fighter, true hero and a man of action, Witold Pilecki may not seem like an obvious choice for a patron of a literary prize. His famous reports, however, are more than a source of invaluable information on the functioning of Auschwitz-Birkenau: through his expressive style, Pilecki also offers an in-depth analysis of the situation in the camp and a broader humanist perspective. While providing information about specific events – the atrocities committed by the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II – the reports also serve as a testimony to the whole era.

The Witold Pilecki International Book Award aims to recognize the significance of the universal message stemming from the experience of the 20th-century totalitarianisms. It wishes to acknowledge texts which promote the fundamental values of human dignity, striving for the truth, willingness to sacrifice, and solidarity with the persecuted. This year, the special prize for war correspondents will go to an author reporting on events in Ukraine or Belarus.

The prizes and honourable mentions will be awarded at a gala ceremony, which will take place in Warsaw on 30th November 2023.

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