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World War II through Polish Eyes Hardcover – September 15, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0880335027 ISBN-10: 0880335025 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: East European Monographs (Book 94)
  • Hardcover: 399 pages
  • Publisher: East European Monographs; 1st edition (September 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880335025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880335027
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Szonert shows a novelist's skill in providing a richly detailed account of the war's devastating impact... The book should attract readers interested in recent Polish history, including young people.

(Monika Mieroszewska Polish Library News)

About the Author

Maria Szonert-Binienda is an attorney living in Akron, OH.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This work is not only a fascinating story but also a history book.
Andrew Targowski
This is also a FASCINATING book about love and atrocity, friendship and war, adversity and solidarity.
Anna Brostow
This true story is supported with annotations with a bibliography of historical references.
Larry Adams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Targowski on February 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
World War II Through Polish Eyes
By
M.B. Szonert
This powerful story depicts the gehenna of one Polish family during the greatest human catastrophe in Poland's history. Young Danuta and her family struggles through the invasion of Poland, the defense of Warsaw, and the German occupation. They suffer tragic losses in Katyñ, Siberia, Auschwitz and dozens of other concentration camps, in Gestapo and NKVD prisons, on Monte Cassino, in the Warsaw Uprising, and on the Western front. Danuta loses her husband and her father but thanks to the tenacious solidarity of the Polish people she survives the war with two small children. She later tries to begin a new life, remarries in the 50ties, and immigrates to the United States.
The book is easy to read thanks to many dialogs and vivid images. What is striking in this story is the attitude of the Polish women - mothers, daughters, and wives. For example, 19-year old Danuta writes to the Auschwitz commander asking him to show a photograph of her newly born son "Jędruś" to her husband - an Auschwitz prisoner. In a humanitarian flash, the commander actually releases Danuta's husband from the death camp. It reminds me of my own story when my own photograph (my nickname is also "Jędruś") saved the life of my father when he was called to the infamous Pavilion Number 11 in the same concentration camp. Danuta continues her crusade and later fights with the Gestapo to recover the body of her husband, and with NKVD to save her father and brother. Although the women were wise and prudent in those difficult times, the men were often too reckless and were dying unnecessarily.
This work is not only a fascinating story but also a history book. Each episode from Danuta's dramatic life is told in the larger, historical context.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Larry Adams on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The novel is a spellbinding portrait of a young girl, Danuta, and her family's journey from peacetime Poland to the German and subsequent Soviet occupation. The author provides a balanced blend of historical background along with intense emotional drama. One can sense the intensity of the hardships, suffering and periods of joy and triumphant over ultimate terror, dishevel and human tragedy. Danuta's extreme resourcefulness, perseverance and wit against the German and Soviet occupants allow her and her family to survive eventhough impending danger is always omnipresent. This true account of Danuta's life expounds on actual events such as random transports to concentration camps, Katyn massacre, indiscriminate shootings and beatings, starvation, ect.. The story line includes a microcosm of the brutalities and cruelties exacted upon the Polish population during World War II. This true story is supported with annotations with a bibliography of historical references. The reality of Danuta's life is also supported with copies of letters written by her husband from Auschwitz prison and other documents to further exemplify the harsh and abominable conditions of life in wartime Poland. The story continually returns to an elderly Danuta who is instructing her young grandson on the historical background of Poland's barbaric occupation centered on the conspiracy of the German-Soviet agreements and subsequent betrayal between the two dictators. Poland becomes a battle ground in the quest for power while Polish resistance, including members of Danuta's family, struggles to resist German and Soviet oppression. The apprehension and tension and hope for the end of the German occupation results in the subjugation of Poland by the Soviet apparatus.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anna Brostow on April 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Hitler swallowed Austria and Czechoslovakia, he got APPROVALS from Britain and France. Poland was the first to resist him - and that is how World War II has started. This is known. The tragic fate of some 6 millions of Polish citizens during WWII is known too. Some 800 years earlier the Kings of Poland granted special priviledges to Jews so as to attract them to Poland and also save them from persecutions elsewhere. Hitler ended 800 years of coexistence of Christian Poles with Poles of Mosesian religous denomination (this is how Polish Jews were known inside Poland) by killing nearly all members of the latter group.
Less is known here in the United States about the sufferings of
non-Jewish citizens of Poland. VERY LITTLE is known about the diabolic JOINT plot of Hitler and Stalin to erase Poland and all its citizens from the surface of the earth. From a historical perspective, this book about Danuta and her life journey provides a wealth of important facts from first hand experience. Stories told me by my father Ludomir Boncza-Brzostowski confirm elements of the story of Danuta, also from first hand experience. He was among those who at the end of Warsaw 1944 Uprising got to the east side of Vistula so as not to surrender to the Nazis; as described in the book, most of those trying to do so were killed by the Nazi artillery. The command of the Polish Army on the Soviet side was taken away from Gen. Zygmunt Berling by Stalin - precisely because Berling tried to help the Uprising. As vividly desribed in the book, Stalin wanted Warsaw destroyed by Nazi hands.
However, the above description of the book might give a totally false impression ! This is also a FASCINATING book about love and atrocity, friendship and war, adversity and solidarity. Do not be fooled by the awkward book title.
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