We present a description of the book by Bożena van Mierlo-Dulińska, which, based on the individual history of the soldier of the 1st Polish Armoured Division comanded by gen. Stanisław Maczek, introduces the dramatic history of soldiers fighting in the Polish Armed Forces in the West and how these experiences influenced the fate of their children – a second generation of war. The content – a modern history (Poland before EU) and the soldier’s diary of war – is written in such a way as to bring the Western recipient (he is the original addressee of the novel, originally written in English) the most basic facts from this fragment of the history of World War II. The book is available in Poland as “Rozbitkowie” and in the Netherlands as “Mijn vader de soldier”.
The novel is written partially in the form of a diary kept by a Polish soldier, who in 1944 – 1945 took part in the liberation of large parts of The Netherlands as a gunner in a Polish tank of the First Polish Armoured Division.
Particularly interesting in this book is that the journal begins just before the outbreak of World War II and describes – from the perspective of a young, 19-year-old boy – the events of autumn 1939, when the Germans and Russians invade Poland. It describes the deportation to Siberia of those Poles who happen to live in the eastern corner of the country, which is now under the Russian occupation. The author of the diary, together with his mother, sister and a younger brother, ends up in a small Russian village, where the family is forced to work in harsh weather and living conditions.
When some years later the Germans invade Russia, the status of the Polish deportees changes suddenly. They are allowed to join the ranks of a new Polish Army, which is being formed on the Russian soil. Many do just that and are eventually able to leave the country. Via Persia and the Middle East they reach, and are incorporated into, the western Allied Forces.
The writer of the diary joins the First Polish Armoured Division, which is stationed in Scotland. He describes his experiences in detail from the moment the Division is shipped to the continent, to participate later in the liberation of Normandy, Flaunders, Dutch Zeeuws-Flaunders, Brabant, and the east of the Netherlands. When he reaches the German port of Wilhelmshafen, the war ends. After 6 years of being away from
home, the emotions of our soldier run high. In spite of the strong advice to the contrary, he decides to return to Poland, which is now under the Soviet influence. He simply wants to be with his family again.
Anna, his daughter, who narrates the whole story and quotes the diary, realises that not only her war- traumatised father is to blame for her difficult youth, but also that her current psychological problems are due to her being a second generation war victim.
The book has an unexpected ending!
Verschenen bij Overamstel Uitgevers B.V. 320 pag. ook als E-Book verkrijgbaar.
In Polen verschenen in 2013 als “Rozbitkowie”