Author's Words on Janek Aniolov29.11.2014 08:40
Who is Janek Aniolov?
Janek Aniolov is the Polish Kapo of the Ramp crew. This group was responsible for clearing bodies and collecting together possessions from new arrivals to the camp. He has been at the camp since its inception, having been arrested after the Nazi invasion in 1939. He is by the end so cynical that he cannot face the outside world. His story is told after the war as he lies bleeding to death from a stab wound picked up in Prague after being mistaken for a German. He survives the camp by not taking risks, despite his participation in the Escape Committee and performs a critical role in liaising with the Sonderkommando. In this process, he cynically tricks Rafael into joining this team so that he can preserve the supply of gold teeth.
Janek is Mihael's best friend in the camp.
What was the significance of Janek?
Janek is a typical survivor of the camp. He does a job that few could now contemplate and makes friends with both guards and Blockführers. In this way, he knows how to work within the camp. However, on leaving the camp he is beset with survivor depression which was common amongst survivors of the camp. He no longer knows how to cope outside the camp and it is likely that he allows his own death. In the end, he is also an important message, for though he chooses not to live, he at least finds solace in his faith.
It is also important to note that the Polish lost the largest percentage of their population during WWII. They were subjected to terrible discrimination and were murdered irrespective of religion. Click here for more.
How would you describe his relationship with Franz?
Janek admires Franz and recognizes the changes that he undergoes during his stay at the camp. Through Franz, he finds his faith, though it does not stop him working to destroy the camp.
Why do Mihael and Janek meet in Prague?
The book 'Truth in Ash' is set partly in Prague where Janek's story will be completed.
What is Janek's religious significance?
Poland is a predominantly Catholic country but we find out that Janek is actually Orthodox as are Gavriil and Rafael. Janek is an Apostle.
What inspired the character Janek Aniolov?
Janek is inspired by the real Kanada Kapo, Jac the Boxer who held his position throughout the whole time of the camp. His real name was Jakob Wachsmann and in reality was probably a French Jew.