Director Robert M. Young was initially hesitant to take on this project when given the original script. He felt that the subject was too voluminous to be incorporated into one movie. He later agreed when presented with a revised script that focused only on one small element in the death camp, or in Young's own words "like a cork, bubbling on the surface of the sea."
Shortly after the film's release, Jacques "Jacko" Razona, a Jewish boxer from Thessaloniki, sued the producers. Razona claimed that they had stolen his story, and that Arouch had grossly exaggerated his exploits. The case was later settled out of court.
Shot on location at the actual Auschwitz death camp. This was first film production that was permitted to shoot at the actual camp. Some of the existing structures were utilized in the production, however, the crematorium had to be recreated since the actual crematoria in Auschwitz were destroyed by the Nazis. The ruins still exist today.
This film's opening prologue states: "This film was inspired by the experiences of a young Greek boxer, Salamo Arouch, who was a prisoner in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War II."