Newport Auschwitz survivor's book tells footballing story
8:02am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
SWA ST 08/05/2013Newport County open top bus parade to show off the Blue Square Bet Premier League play off final trophy, 96 year odl supporter Ron Jones (1290354)
A NEWPORT war veteran and Auschwitz survivor has relived his past for a new book and BBC feature, released later this month.
The Auschwitz Goalkeeper is the true story of prisoner of war Ron Jones of Bassaleg, Newport, who has chosen to speak out after 70 years.
After being enlisted in the army, Mr Jones was captured by German troops in North Africa, before being taken to what is now Poland. He was at Auschwitz from October 1943 to January 1945. There, he worked at the IG Farben chemical factory in a synthetic petrol plant, but on his one day off a week he would play football.
The experiences of the notorious death camp may have been made bearable by his love of football, but still to come was the march across Europe, from Poland to the Austrian border, as the SS retreated before the advancing Russians. Mr Jones is one of only three men still alive from the march.
Mr Jones is currently in Poland revisiting Auschwitz for a piece for the BBC’s The One Show, which is due to be aired at the end of October to the beginning of November.
At 96-years-old, he still sells poppies for the Royal British Legion every year, gives talks in local schools about his experience and even works part-time with an estate agent.
Mr Jones has been a Newport County fan almost all his life. Speaking to The Argus earlier this year, he said: "The first time I went down there, my father took me on his bike in 1924, I was seven years old."
Co-author of the book, Joe Lovejoy, was chief football writer for the Sunday Times for 15 years, and at The Independent for eight years before that. He has had four books published, including Glory, Goals and Greed [the history of the Premier League], Ryan Giggs’ autobiography [ghosted] and Sven-Goran Eriksson’s biography.
The book, published by Gomer Press, was to be launched at the Newport British Legion club on October 9; however, the launch has now been postponed.
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