Meet Donna Urbikas, author of My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia. Urbikas’ book is the true story of her mother Janina’s and sister Mira’s eviction from their small, family farm in eastern Poland by the Russians during World War II. Far less has been written about the devastating acts committed against Poles during World War II by the Russians under Józef Stalin. I read the book shortly after it came out in 2016, and consider it an important addition to my growing library on Polish history and memoirs. Continue reading
Meet James Conroyd Martin, author of The Boy Who Wanted Wings, and the Poland Trilogy: Push Not the River, Against a Crimson Sky, and Warsaw Conspiracy. Martin’s books are considered historical fiction but mirror true events. Each one takes place at the time of a significant event or era in Polish history. They make for an entertaining read whether you are familiar with Polish history or not. Martin is of Irish and Norwegian descent, but after a friend shared the diary of a Polish countess from the late eightenth century, he thoroughly believed the story should be turned into a book. He has been studying Polish history ever since.
October is Polish Heritage Month, which is a perfect time to introduce a new monthly blog feature: Author Profiles. Meet Greg Archer, author of Grace Revealed, a Memoir
Greg Archer grew up Polish in Chicago. His book, Grace Revealed, a Memoir, explores his Polish family’s history as victims of Jozef Stalin’s mass deportation of more than one million Polish citizens to the frozen Siberian Gulags in early 1940. Most people know that Hitler launched an invasion against Poland on September 1, 1939, leading to a declaration of war two days later. I submit that far fewer people, especially outside of the Polish community, are fully aware of the true scope of horrendous crimes Stalin waged against Poland.
The Warsaw Uprising began August 1, 1944 as a heroic, catastrophic last stand against the Germans, and ended 63 days later with the death of more than 200,000 Poles, the majority civilians. After nearly five years of German occupation, the Russians were advancing from the east, sending German troops into retreat. The Germans had begun evacuating Warsaw. In July 20, a failed assassination attempt on Hitler revealed a huge coalition of top German officials complicit in their perceived need to murder Hitler. And, Soviet aircraft even dropped leaflets in Warsaw exhorting people to rise up in armed action. On the surface, it sounded like a good time to revolt. History played out differently.