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Poles in World War II as seen in British fiction
Compiled by Andrzej Jaroszyński, Lublin 2022

The following reviews have been kindly donated by Andrzej Jaroszyński, lecturer of the Catholic University of Lublin, a former diplomat. He is preparing a book on images of Poland and Poles in post-war British fiction. Any sugestions concerning the list and the topic of the forthcoming publication would appreciated at ajaroszynski@o2.pl

Helen MacInnes. The Unconquerable, London: Harrap, 1944; USA ed. While We Still Alive,
New York: Little Brown, 1944

Helen MacInnes (1907-85) was born and raised in Glasgow but spent much of her 40-year career living and working in New York City. She drew on her extensive research and travel, and her marriage to Gilbert Highet, a classics scholar at Columbia University and agent for British intelligence, to portray particularly Cold War intrigue and power machinations..

The Unconquerable is her only novel set during the WWII. The American title refers to a phrase from the Polish national anthem: póki my żyjemy. The book chronicles the transformation of a young Englishwoman into a resistance fighter. Sheila Matthews instead of leaving Warsaw in September 1939 decides to help the rising resistance movement. She is drawn into a series of events including being mistaken for a German spy. A great number of characters of Poles, German and foreigners include a Polish partisan leader, his father a professor but also a secret German agent who Sheila reveals. The novels presents the atrocities committed by the Nazis but also in detail the structure of the Polish Home Army. The figure of a young English heroine confronted with a war in afar away and foreign land is very characteristic for many novels about the war in Poland.

The most addicting quality of MacInnes’s novels is her utter lack of sentimentality. She is entirely without illusions about human nature. Her characters choose mates as much for love as for practicality; they are full of ambivalence and wary of ideology. It seems that The Unconquerable is an exception. In it a romantic quality of bravery of Poles and Sheila herself dominates the novel's message.

Dennis Wheatley Codeword-Golden Fleece, London: Hutchinson, 1946.

Dennis Wheatley (1897 –1977) was one of the most prolific authors of political and occult thrillers. The plot of this novel is supposedly based on fact given to Wheatley when he was a member of the Joint Planning Staff of the War Cabinet, by a Foreign Office colleague.
When the WW II opened the Duke de Richleau and his three friends were sent to Poland and then Romania in an attempt to sabotage the German war economy.
The action in Poland takes place first in Lubieszow "in the desolate Pripet Marshes" in August 1939 where the Duke witnesses secret meetings of the Polish minister of Defence General Mack with the envoys of Hitler. Then the Duke escapes to Warsaw where he is hunted by General Mack and Germans. The second part of the plot is in Bucharest and involves equally improbable operations.
The novel has had many editions and is an example of British fiction which rather confabulates than describes the Polish participation in the WW II.

Elizabeth M. Hunt, The Eagle Lies Bleeding, William Earl & Co., 1947

Elizabeth M. Hunt (2017-2000) wrote many TV plays and programmes. She tries to describe Poland as if she was a Polish writer. It is a story of the Rawicz family from the pre-war time to the 1940s. The head of the family, Anthony is a Polish officer who remembers the war with the Bolsheviks in 1920. The Rawicz's happy everyday life in pre-war Poland takes them to the sea-side and to Lithuania. Their son Janek starts his musical career and their daughter Irena marries a Jew, Jacob Goldstein. The unexpected invasion by Germany and the Soviet Union in September, 1939 closes this happy period in their history. Most of them perish in the war. However, the older son Marek escapes via Wilno to Scotland and joins the Polish Navy there. He also meets Miss Macgregor, his former teacher of English, in fact the only English figure in the novel.

Ray Coryton Hutchinson, Recollection of a Journey, London: Allison & Busby, 1952; US title: Journey with Strangers, Rinehart and Co., New York /Toronto, 1952

The author (1907 – 1975) was a best-selling British novelist. His published work comprises 17 novels and 28 short stories, as well as one play but he is best known for Testament (1938), his epic work about the Russian Revolution.

Poland 1939. It is the Russian occupation, not the German invasion, which destroys the aristocratic Kolbeck family. Julius is an aristocrat and officer for whom love of Poland dictates private life. His German wife "is a Pole because she's my wife". He together with the whole family is driven like cattle into the wastes of Siberia where they are forced to labour in the cause of "democracy". Stephanie - the wife of Julius' son - is a Ruthenian and has to fend for herself amongst people who not only consider her an inferior but harbor a secret about her past which they cannot reveal. During the horrific journey from Siberia to the northern borders of Persia, Stephanie loses nearly all those she loves, including three baby sons; and discovers the true meaning of being Polish and a Kolbeck, and of humanity itself. "[It] is a story of battle on the land, across the seas, and in the heart of man"

This is the first British novel about the fate of Poles in the Soviet Union during WW II.

Ann Bridge, A Place to Stand, London, New York: Macmillan, 1953

Ann Bridge (1889 - 1974) is a pen-name of Mary Ann Dolling (Sanders) O'Malley, wife of the British diplomat Sir Owen St Clair O'Malley, who served in Budapest from 1939 to 1941 and then was British Ambassador at the Polish Government -in- Exile in London. The story is set in Budapest in the spring of 1941. Hope Kirkland, a young American gets engaged in an underground operation led by Stefan and his sister Litka, members of a Polish refugee family. Hope falls in love with Stefan and helps the family to escape from Budapest after Germany invades Hungary. Bridge, herself an eyewitness of these events, tells in moving terms the terrible story of Germany's 'protective' invasion and depicts a positive and touching picture of the Polish family. The novel was one of the few British fiction translated into Polish in London.

Judith Hare Listowel (Judit Marffy-Mantuano, Countess of Listowel) Crusader in the Secret War, London: Christopher Johnson, 1952

Judith Márffy-Mantuano Hare, Countess of Listowel (1903-2003) a British journalist of the Hungarian aristocracy family. Her Crusader in the Secret war is a fictionalized account of the life of Col. Jan Kowalewski, a Polish cryptologist and the head of the Polish intelligence operation in Lisbon. Col. Kowalewski as Peter Nart takes part in secret negotiations with Hungarian, Romanian and Italian diplomats in Lisbon. The book was favourably reviewed in Foreign Affairs.

Richard Pape, Boldness be my friend, London: Elek, 1953

Richard Pape (1916-1995) served in Bomber Command, got shot down, evaded, was captured, escaped, got tortured, escaped, before being repatriated. He became a best-selling author and renowned adventurer after the war.
Shot down over Berlin in 1941, Richard Pape's saga of captivity is a story of courage unmatched in the annals of escape. Four escapes took him across the breadth of German-occupied Europe; to Poland and Czechoslovakia; to Austria and Hungary. He was imprisoned in Stalag VIIIB near Breslau, known as Lamsdorf Prison, from which he escaped with the help of his Polish companion via Częstochowa to Kraków. A friendly picture of Poles.
However, recently some question whether Pape's story is his own or a compilation of other airmen's stories.

Philip Gibbs, No Price for Freedom, London: Tern (Rybitwa) Book Co., 1955.

Sir Philip Armand Hamilton Gibbs (1877 – 1962) was an English journalist and prolific author of books who served as one of five official British reporters during the First World War.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, Sir Gibbs was asked to write a novel based on the memoires of Irena Rybotycka who participated in the Uprising. The book translated in many languages reached the sale of half a million copies. It is the story of how Poland’s drama affected the lives of one Polish family and their friends, a family typical of many, who, happy well-to-do people before war, broke out, when the war did come, were called upon to witness scenes of indescribable horror, to suffer bereavement, privation and persecution, and to realize the depths of degradation to which human beings could descend. The Mirskis, like many others, helped to keep up the gallant and unremitting struggle for freedom in the face of terrible odds. The novel – a vivid and imaginative reconstruction of those times – is somehow idealistic picture which it gives of Polish life at this terrible period in the country’s history. Through its pages move some of the real heroes of the Polish Resistance, among them General Anders, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army which fought with the Allies on many fronts, and General Komorowski, who, under the pseudonym of ‘Bor’, was the leader of the Uprising.

Daphne Slee, That Great Hunter A Novel. London: Peter Davies, [1951]

Slee's first book is a vividly written novel concerning a Polish bomber pilot in the RAF during WWII.

Ian Serraillier The Silver Sword, Jonathan Cape, 1956; US ed. Escape from Warsaw 1956,

The book, published in 1956, was serialized on BBC Children's Television in 1957 and then in 1971. The setting is a bleak Poland during the German occupation and tells the story of a Polish family, The Balickis: father Joseph and mother Margrit and their three children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia, who are torn apart when Nazis arrest Joseph and Margrit. Now they are alone and live in constant fear. Finally, they get word that their father is alive in Switzerland. The children are determined to find him, though they know how dangerous the long trip from Warsaw will be. Their gripping story is supposedly taken from actual accounts, but it contains many historical inaccurate and negligent representations.
John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006), has acknowledged a debt to Serraillier's novel: "the book stands out for me as a great children's classic – [it] was my first introduction to the Second World War.
Although it is a children's novel it has become a classic presenting a picture of the Second World War in Poland for many generations especially in the UK.

Slavomir Rawicz, The Long Walk. The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, London: Constable, 1956

This is one of the most known but also controversial stories of an escape of a young Polish cavalry officer with six companions from a Soviet gulag. In 1941 after a three month journey to Siberia in the depths of winter they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and freedom nine months later in March 1942 after travelling on foot through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert. It was the inspiration for the film The Way Back (2010), directed by Peter Weir and starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris.
The authorship and authenticity of the escape were questioned by some sources.

Peter Kemp (Peter Mant MacIntyre), No Colours, no Crest, London: Cassell, 1958

Peter Kemp. Kemp as student volunteered to fight for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. During WW II he took part with bravery in many missions of British Special Operations Executive.
The story is an honest account of the real experience of Kemp’s assignments as part-Commando, part-insurgent operations behind the enemy lines in Albania and Poland. Kemp arrived in Poland in December 1944. He has praise for the Poles as a “gallant people" who "produced no Quislings”, but are not united in their resistance and show no much respect for their putative leaders in exile.
He had to spend a lot of time moving from place to place and hiding among the locals, but the Germans never captured them. In January 1945 the Soviets arrived and soon Kemp and his men were held as prisoners and were then taken to Moscow. Eventually, in March 1945, they were sent back to England.

Vernon Hinchley (Colonel), Spy Mysteries Unveiled, London: Harrap, 1963 Includes: The Murder of Countess Łubieńska, 59-64; The Disappearance of Father Boryński, 65-71; The Death of General Sikorski, 203-211; The Katyń Murders, 241-247.

A collection of political thrillers in the form of short stories include four texts dealing with Polish themes. The first one describes the murder of Countess Teresa Łubieńska in the London Underground in 1947 as a mistaken target of the KGB; Father Henryk Boryński was supposed to be killed by the former Polish RAF officer; the plane crash which killed General Władysław Sikorski was provided by a German agent, and the Katyń story focuses on the fate of a Russian peasant who was a witness to the atrocities. The last short-story was the first presentation of the massacre in British fiction.

Christopher Nicole, The Thunder and the Shouting, London: Hutchinson, 1969

Christopher Robin Nicole (born 1930 in Georgetown, British Guiana) is a prolific British writer of over 200 novels and non-fiction books since 1957. He wrote as Christopher Nicole under several pseudonyms.
It is a novel of war-raged Poland, a brutal portrayal of war. The book follows a family's mixed loyalties as the Germans invade Poland in 1939, right through to the Warsaw uprising. The mother is a German and the father is a Pole.
Central protagonist in the story is the eldest son, who marches off to fight for Poland, is sent to a labour camp, and uses his dual nationality to change sides and fight in Russia for the Germans, while back home, the family is torn apart

Alec Thackeray, You'll Need an Angel, London: Arrow Books, 1979

The story of a Polish officer captured in 1939 and held in a series of Russian POW camps during the World War II as told by Wiktor Piasecki, to Alec Thackeray whose first book was One Way Ticket (1975) about American mafia and politics. This is one of the first British fiction about the fate of Poles in the Soviet Union during WW II.

David Niven, Go Slowly, Come Back Quickly, New York, Doubleday, 1981

James David Graham Niven (1910 - 1983) was a British actor, who appeared in many shows for television and nearly 100 films. He also wrote many books with considerable commercial success. During WWII he served in the British Army as a second lieutenant. Go Slowly, Come Back is a love story chronicling the escapades of Stani Skolimowski - a young man, son of a Polish diplomat and an American woman. He becomes a football star, RAF pilot, stunt man, photographer, and lover in wartime Britain.

Ron Jeffery, Red Runs the Vistula, Nevron Associates Publ., Manurewa, Auckland, 1985,

Memoir of a British Corporal, captured in the early days of WWII, who escapes from his POW camp deep in Poland to become the top Englishman who, with great heroism, served undercover in the Polish Underground. People of more matchless moral and physical courage than the Poles have never existed, and a sense of pride at having fought and been closely associated with them in their scarce unbroken struggles, is always with me. In 1943, Home Army General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski personally awarded Jeffery the Polish Cross of Valour. In 1995, President of Poland, Lech Wałęsa, awarded him the Commander of the Order or Merit.

Robert Harris, Enigma, London: Hutchinson, 1995

Enigma, published in London in 1995, and even more a film based on the basis of the book in 2001 gave rise to many reservations, not only among British critics as to the reliable presentation of historical background, but, above all, it was received with an explicit objection and protests of the Poles in Great Britain.
Harris's picture is concentrated on a double, parallel investigation concerning the loss of Claire Romilly, the lover of the main protagonist, Tom Jericho, a genius mathematician working in the team of Bletchley Park on deciphering the German coding machine -Enigma, as well as on searching the spy, who betrayed the progress of the team's works to Germans. The main accusation of the Polish community in Britain (less of the Poles in Poland) concerned lack of appreciation of the achievements of the Polish mathematicians in decoding Enigma. However, the more painful objection was connected with an incomprehensible literary idea of making a Pole a traitor. Pukowski, a member of the team, discovers that his father was killed in the Katyń forest and makes revenge at the British for hiding the truth from the Polish ally and the world opinion. The improbability of this motif could have been explained either by the author's conviction of complete historical ignorance of the British reader or the unimportance and pettiness of attitudes and feelings of the British Polonia and Poles themselves, or his wish to commit a certain provocation of in his creative writing, without any serious consequences due to the ignorance of the reader and the weakness of those allegedly offended.

Teresa Crane, The Raven Hovers, London: Time Warner Books, 1997

Stefan and Marek Anderson: two men bound together by blood and divided by a hatred sown since birth. It is only with the outbreak of the Second World War that their lives change. As the conflict rages around them Stefan, a hero of the Polish partisan movement, and Marek reluctantly embark on a secret mission to support the cause and uncover the Nazi’s ‘retaliation weapon’. An interesting account of Poland and the resistance fighters of the Home Army.

Jay Basu, The Stars Can Wait, London: Cape, 2002

Jay Basu was born in London to an Indian father and a half-Polish, half Russian mother. He attended Cambridge University, graduating in 1999, and has since been teaching and writing fiction. The Stars Can Wait is his first novel.
The novel takes place during WWII in a small village in Silesia, at the beginning of the German occupation of Poland. Gracian Sófka is the 15-year-old protagonist, a dreamer and a "star-gazer". His older brother, Pawel, finds more direct ways to deal with the enemy, starting with his stint in the Polish army and then his participation in the local underground. Basu examines the impact of war on a family as seen through the eyes of a sensitive and precocious adolescent.

John Martin (author), David Hardy (volume editor), A Land Without Heroes, Norwich: Anglian Publishing, 2002

Francis Cottam, Hamer's War, London: Simon & Shuster, 2004

Francis Cottam was born in 1957. A full-time journalist, he has lived and worked in London for the past twenty years. His first novel, The Fire Fighter, was set in Britain in World War II.
Having been wounded on the Russian Front, Martin Hamer, a heroic and principled German officer, is seconded to a labour camp in occupied Poland. Hamer finds himself drawn to one of the inmates, Julia Smollen. As the burgeoning relationship between the German officer and the Polish prisoner causes mounting tension in the camp, Hamer is forced to reassess and reevaluate his past, and is faced with a heartbreaking choice - and a chance of redemption. A chance which would mean forsaking his rank, reputation and homeland. Cottam's is a fascinating tale of love and a professional soldier's bitter war for an atrocious regime.

Michael Dobbs, Churchill's Triumph. A Novel of Betrayal, London: Headline, 2005

Michael John Dobbs, Baron Dobbs (born in 1948) is a British Conservative politician and author, best known for his House of Cards trilogy. Churchill's Triumph is the fourth and final book in Michael Dobbs' tetralogy covering Winston Churchill and World War II. The novel is set in Yalta for the February 1945 conference of victors. Told from Churchill's point of view, it takes you behind the scenes and brings you into the minds and hearts of the big three leaders. There is also the fictional Marian Nowak, survivor of the Katyn massacre of Polish officers, who turns up as a plumber at the Vorontsov Palace (bugged British HQ) to win the vital compassion of Frank Sawyers, Churchill's real-life valet. Nowak a well-realized character, fearless, impossible, very Polish (an exasperated Churchill begs him to be "the first Pole in history not to jump to conclusions"). Nowak is there to chronicle ordinary people's suffering and relay intelligence about Russian and American purposes. The novel concludes with the Pole turning up, 18 years later, on Churchill's yacht. As for Poland, Dobbs writes about the country with tight passion, transferring to his fictional village, Piorun, the rape, murder, and savage enforcement by Germans and Russians.

Joan McLaren, The Moving Finger, Liskeard, Cornwall: Exposure Publishing, 2007

Sarah Mabyn is on holiday with her husband Ian, researching her new novel. They are stalked across Poland after a priest is found murdered in a Warsaw church that they had visited. A threatening phone call tells her to leave Poland immediately, but Sarah is followed home to Cornwall. She starts to believe that she is in real danger; and indeed she is... Mrs. McLaren gives an interesting account of her own experiences with the British Secret Service in the 1940's.

Zina Rohan, The Officer's Daughter, Portobello Books, 2007

Zina Rohan worked for the BBC World Service for 25 years, before writing this novel. She lives in London. .Sixteen-year-old Marta she finds herself leading her fellow girl-guides on a camping trip on the border between Poland and Germany on the very day in September 1939 that the Nazis invade. So begins a perilous adventure across thousands of miles - from the logging camps of frozen Siberia to the British field hospitals of Persia - during which Marta is forced to draw on reserves of courage and had and make choices as her heart is torn between a fiery young Polish patriot and a charismatic Iranian doctor. This is an epic wartime romance which sees a headstrong young woman face hardship, danger and dilemmas as the forces of history sweep her across continents

Patrick Bishop A Good War, Hodder & Stoughton, 2008

Patrick Bishop spent twenty-five years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the world. He is the author of two hugely acclaimed books about the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, Fighter Boys and Bomber Boys. A Good War is his first novel.
Adam Tomaszewski is a Polish airman, flying Hurricanes alongside British pilots as the Battle of Britain rages in the summer skies over Kent and Sussex. Facing death daily and far from his friends and family, Adam finds himself drawn to a maverick Irish soldier called Gerry Cunningham. For the next four years, Adam's life and Gerry's are intertwined like good luck and bad, love and loss, life and death, their paths crossing at various points on Adam's perilous journey from the ruins of Poland to England, from Egypt to Occupied France.
A hauntingly evocative picture of wartime Britain, a twisting drama of fighting behind enemy lines, a compelling, suspenseful love story.

Michael Gunton, A Fight to the Death Leicester: Troubador Publishing Ltd., 2009

After serving in the Royal Navy during the World War II, Michael Gunton began a 40-odd year career in journalism, which included working as a political and industrial correspondent for British and American newspapers and radio stations. He also worked for several government ministers. This is his fifth book.
A Fight to the Death tells the fascinating story of the Polish submarine Orzeł (Eagle) and her crew in the early days of the Second World War. It combines the presentation of the submarine's brave naval courses with personal fates of the officers and sailors serving in the submarine.

Jan Kusmirek, The Engineer, London: Derwen Publishing 2009

Jan Kuśmirek was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. His roots are Polish. Jan Kuśmirek is an author, educator, journalist, historian and aroma cosmetologist. Co-founder of Fragrant Earth, the UK’s pioneering producer of aromatic raw materials. Jan divides his work life between his home in Poland and England.
This is a thriller story of a young boy of Polish descent, born in Canada who is unable to escape the burden of history. Teddy Labden finds that try as he might he cannot escape his immigrant past and the mystery of his father's record in Eastern Europe. Whilst England draws him ever closer to her bosom Teddy meets a darker side of life full of connections and coincidences that lead him into the dangers of the Secret Service. Through a variety of affairs he looks for the love and affection that is missing in his life. His Polish upbringing forces him to take unexpected sides with consequences that put his life in danger from the Russian agents embedded in MI6 as he becomes involved in the fringes of the assassination of General Sikorski, the Polish Prime Minister. The Engineer is the first part of his trilogy.
Stolen Lives is his second novel set in Poland and Eastern Europe in the years immediately following World War II

Kazia Myers, "Stolen Years” London:Pen Press, 2009

I am a retired teacher, [and] live with my family in Leicester. I was born in Palestine, then under the British mandate. My Polish parents were refugees and survivors of Stalin's labour camps who then settled in England after the war. My two books 'Stolen Years' and 'The Journey' are historical fiction books based on the stories of my husband's parents and my parents and how they came to live in the UK.
Anna is just seventeen when the Gestapo snatches her from her native village. She is forced into slave labour on a remote farm in Austria.For five years, Anna and her friends are subjected to relentless hard labour and appalling living conditions until, finally, the day of liberation arrives. But what has become of her friends? Will she be able to return to her family?

Amanda Hodgkinson, 22 Britannia Road, London: Penguin, 2011, Variant Title: Twenty-two Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson was born in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and grew up in Essex and Suffolk. 22 Britannia Road is her first novel - a bestseller in Holland and a New York Times bestseller in America.
It is the tale of a family desperately trying to put itself back together after WWII. Silvana and Janusz have only been married a few months when the war forces them apart. Silvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Meanwhile Janusz, the sole survivor of his slaughtered military unit, flees to France. There, he takes up with a local girl and, though he loves her, awaits the war's end so that he can go in search of his wife and son. He eventually finds them in a refugee camp and they travel to England together, where they attempt to put the past behind them.

Chris Piechowski, Poles Apart: From Darkness, Fire and Chains, Brighton: Indepenpress Publishing Ltd, 2011

Chris Piechowski was born in 1950 to a Polish father and an English mother. He served for over thirty years in the police force and retired in the rank of Superintendent Divisional Commande. He is the author of two published novels, Poles Apart From Darkness, Fire and Chains and An Abiding Legacy.
This novel is inspired by the author's involvement in a real family reunion, and the long odyssey undertaken by its various members to get there. Piechowski uses a blend of accurate historical background, with its basis on true-life characters and events, and vivid fictional characterization to depict a family torn apart by its own past, and by the brutality of both the Nazi and Soviet regimes, as well as paying tribute to the bravery of the Polish nation. While the plight of Ewa and Henryk and their close family members and friends is most intriguing, and deeply affecting, Piechowski speaks out for those who continue to struggle against oppression and persecution, with no one to defend them in this world of powerful and so-called caring democracies.

An Abiding Legacy, Indepenpress, 2012

An Abiding Legacy continues the story line set out in Poles Apart. Following the death of Jan Nowaski, the ragged diary of a Polish soldier is bequeathed to Mick, a retired policeman. Keen to find out more about the perilous world explored in the diary, Mick finds the inscrutable Stanislaw Pawlowski who expands on the diary's contents and weaves an enigmatic tale of heroism, tenacity and love in a covert war waged against the Gestapo and the SS, the successful results of which could change the very course of the war and human history.

Belinda Seaward, The Beautiful Truth, London: John Murray, 2012

Belinda Seaward began her career as a journalist and has worked on national newspapers, including the Daily Mail and Sunday Times. This is her second novel.
Set in Poland in the present and during the Second World War, The Beautiful Truth is a novel of families, heroism and of the possibilities of finding late love. Catherine, a writer, never knew her father. A Polish exile, he disappeared when she was a small child. Now in her forties, she one day receives a letter with a Polish postmark from an American film-maker who is in Krakow to research the wartime experiences of his aunt. What Konrad has uncovered will send Catherine on a voyage of discovery not only into Poland's past, but into her own history.
perilous journey from the ruins of Poland to England, from Egypt to Occupied France.
A hauntingly evocative picture of wartime Britain, a twisting drama of fighting behind enemy lines, a compelling, suspenseful love story.

Philip Kerr A Man Without a Breath, London: Putnam, 2013

Philip Ballantyne Kerr (1956 – 2018) was a British author, best known for his Bernie Gunther series of historical detective thrillers.
Word reached Berlin of a Red massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest and Propaganda Minister Goebbels wants irrefutable evidence of this Russian atrocity, and so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those dead Polish officers. Smolensk, March 1943. Army Group Center is an enclave of Prussian aristocrats of the Wehrmacht. The wisecracking, rough-edged Gunther is not a good fit but he has a far bigger concern because in this mix is a cunning and savage killer who has left a trail of bloody victims.

Lydia Syson, That Burning Night, Hot Key Books, 2013

Lydia Syson, after an early career as a BBC World Service Radio producer, turned to the written word and developed an enduring interest in history.
Romney Marsh, July 1940. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh she finds and secretly cares for a broken pilot, a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church. In one extraordinary summer the lives of two young people will change forever. That Burning Summer is a refreshingly different war story, focusing as it does on the rarely mentioned Polish allies who joined the war effort, fighting for Britain as they were unable to help from occupied Poland.

Kazia Myers, "The Journey", Matador, 2014

'The Journey' is a novel in three volumes set against the backdrop of World War 2. Based on true facts, it is a story of the Kalinskis family who is deported to a Stalin's labour camp in Siberia then with Ander's Army escape the "paradise" of the Soviet Union and settle down in England after the war. Years later, Julia, the daughter, embarks on a visit to Poland in order to [iece together her parents' tragic past. A miraculous discovery brings the fragmented family together and also their very long journey to a bitter-sweet end. It is a story of unimaginable deprivation and survival, love and sacrifice, a story of friendships forged forever by tragedies.

Michael Rudnicki, Darsky's Resistance, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014

Michael Rudnicki was born in Poland and moved to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s to study. A real self-starter with a degree in Economics, he has specialized in helping corporate to bridge the gap between east and west. He lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife and young son.
Ian Darsky – the son of a Polish Count and an English noblewoman — returns home to his family’s estate in Poland a week before the 1st September German invasion of 1939. Darsky has come back to Poland as a British Secret Service agent, and soon becomes liaison between the exiled Polish Government in London and the fledgling resistance working to restore it—a resistance Darsky is willing to support beyond his official duties. He will have to fight, cheat and kill in order to survive the war and save his beloved Poland, all the while conflicted as to who poses the greater threat: Nazi Germany, Communist Russia or his British employers.

Lucy Beckett, The Leaves are Falling. A Novel. Ignatius Press, 2014

For twenty years the author was a professor of literature at Ampleforth Abbey College and wrote historical and theological books and novels. The Leaves are Falling was her third fiction work reviewed mainly in Catholic media on both sides of the Atlantic.
The book consists of two stories of Josef Halperin and his father Dr Jacob Halperin who are members of the Jewish community in Vilna, the border lands of Poland-Lithuania during World War II. The son luckily avoids death in a Lithuanian forest but loses all of his family. As sixteen-year-old boy he arrives at a Yorkshire farm and then settles down in London. The story then shifts to his father, Dr Jacob Halperin, who serves as a medical doctor in the Polish Army and then is imprisoned by the Soviets after his entire regiment is captured in 1940. Beckett successfully makes a fictional account of the life of Polish officers including two real historical figures: the NKVDA Soviet interrogator Major Zarubin, and Rabbi Steinberg.

Mary Nichols, A Different World, London: Allison & Busby, 2014

Born in Singapore to a Dutch-South African father and an English mother, Mary Nichols came to England when she was three and spent most of her life in different parts of East Anglia. From short stories and articles for a variety of newspapers and magazines, she turned to writing novels. She died in 2016.
Warsaw, Poland. Pilot Jan Grabowski receives orders that take him to the heart of the escalating conflict. He leaves behind his wife, Rulka, who sees Poland overcome by the Nazis. In constant danger and amid cruel reprisals, she joins the Resistance. Norfolk. Louise Fairhurst's war is very different. Evacuated with her class of ten-year-olds from London she finds herself acting mother as well as teacher to the children. She has much to do settling city children down in the countryside, and she wonders whether she should have stayed in London until a chance meeting with Jan alters her path...

Louise Walters, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2015

Dorothy is unhappily married. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later. “Mrs. Sinclair’s suitcase” is a novel about loneliness, love, sacrifice, and the hardships of war.

Neal Ascherson, The Death of Fronsac, London: Apollo, 2017

Charles Neal Ascherson is a Scottish journalist and writer. He reported from Asia, Africa and Central Europe for the Observer. He contributes regularly to the New York Review and the LRB. His books include, among others The Polish August.
The novel is about the experiences of a Polish officer (Maurycy Szczucki) - Mike) stationed in Scotland as an intelligence officer during World War II. To try to distract himself, he befriends his landlady in Greenock, and her bookish granddaughter Jackie, and - almost despite himself - begins an affair with Jackie's mother Helen. When a French warship, the Fronsac, mysteriously sinks off Greenock, Major Mike, Helen, Jackie, and Jackie's grandmother all become caught up in the tragedy. An unforgettable recreation of life in wartime and of the tragic fate of Poland in the 20th century

Jane Rogoyska, Kozłowski , London: Holland House, 2019

The author's grandfather was a Polish senior civil servant, who settled in London. She is a graduate of Cambridge and the Łódź Film School. She combines prose writing with making short films, radio projects, and documentary films. While preparing a historical background for her new novel she came across the name of her great-uncle, Ludwik Rynkowski, on a list of those murdered in Katyń.
Rogoyska's novel is a psychological portrait and life-story of the fictional character, Zbigniew Kozłowski, who is captured by the Soviet Army in September 1939 and interned in Starobielsk, one of the camps for Polish officers. It is his life in these three camps which constitutes the novel's main action. Kozłowski's later fate is tied to the pathway of the Second Corps of General Anders, landing finally in England in 1946 where he finishes medical studies, marries an English woman, and becomes a renowned doctor. The last moments of doctor Kozłowski before his death, fifty years after the murder of his mates' friends, are at the same time his last meeting with the colleagues.

Elizabeth Gifford, The Good Doctor of Warsaw, Corvus, AtlanticBooks, 2018

Elisabeth Gifford studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She wrote a biography and three historical novels. She writes for The London Times and the Independent
In love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation but are forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto to help Misha's mentor, Dr Janusz Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak stays with them till death. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland's greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak

Carolyn Kirby, When We Fall London: No Exit Press, 2020

When We Fall, is Kirby's second historical novel. The book was nominated for The Times list of best historical novels in 2020. As she admitted herself the Katyń theme was inspired by the crash of the Polish President's plane near Smoleńsk in 2010 and by Andrzej Wajda's film Katyń.
Based on the Katyn massacre of 1940, a moving historical novel of three lives forever altered by one fatal choice. The action of the story takes place from March 1943 to July 1945 both in Great Britain and in Poznań, Poland. It recounts the fates of four characters: Ewa Hartman, a Pole of German descent, who works for the German occupation authorities and, at the same time, cooperates with the Polish Home Army; her fiancé, Stefan Bergel, a Polish air force officer born in Katowice; Vee Katchatourian, an RAF pilot of Armenian descent, who meets Stefan in Great Britain; Heinrich Beck, a Polish officer from Katowice, who is taken prisoner with Stefan by the Soviets in September 1939. The narrative focuses on Stefan's extraordinary actions with both women to gather documents incriminating the Soviet Union in the Katyń murder. Their goal is not reached and, of the four main characters, only the Poznań woman Ewa and Heinrich Beck survive.

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