Selling a long-lost memoir

The Auschwitz Volunteer

Objective

To stimulate awareness among target audiences of the publication “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery,” considered by publisher Aquila Polonica to be the company’s most significant title.

Challenge

“The Auschwitz Volunteer” is the diary of Witold Pilecki, a Polish Army officer who intentionally got himself arrested and sent to the Nazi concentration camp, where he organized a resistance movement. The book is Pilecki’s report to his superior officers, and while filled with interesting detail and enormous heroism, it does not fit into the Holocaust-centric niche occupied by most books about the Nazi concentration camps and therefore does not have the built-in readership of those books.

IPR in Action

We built a social media campaign designed to heighten the book’s appeal to the Polish community and World War II buffs – especially fans and students of the Polish resistance. This was in turn used to bolster interest in the book at several bricks-and-mortar stops, such as Eastern European symposia and Holocaust museums. IPR created a book trailer that emphasized Pilecki’s heroism and the family he left behind, creating the catch phrase “One Man Did the Unthinkable.”

The Results

Favorable reviews of “The Auschwitz Volunteer” appeared in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic and many more. A direct contact with award-winning novelist Martin Amis while he was writing a concentration camp novel resulted in an endorsement quote. The book trailer has been translated (by IPR) into German; foreign rights to the title have been sold to six countries. The book is now considered an influential work exploring a previously overlooked perspective on the history of Auschwitz.

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