Synopses & Reviews
In September of 1939, Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, wealthy landowner and professor of art history, watched the Soviet army march into Poland. After joining the resistance, she was arrested, sentenced to death, and held in Ravensbruck concentration camp. There she taught art history to other women who, like her, might be dead in a few days. This brilliantly written memoir records a neglected side of World War II: the mass murder of Poles, the serial horrors inflicted by both Russians and Nazis, and the immense courage of those who resisted.
"A Polish aristocrat born in Austria, Countess Lanckoronska (1898 2002) became an art history professor at the University of Lvov, Poland. When the Soviets invaded in September 1939, the countess joined the resistance and eventually evaded arrest by fleeing to German-occupied Krakw, where she worked with the Polish Red Cross and continued her resistance activities. At Stanislawow, where she had been delivering care packages to prisoners, Lanckoronska was briefly imprisoned and local Gestapo chief Hans Krger confessed to her that he had murdered 23 University of Lvov professors, a war crime she made it her mission to publicize. Imprisoned at Ravensbrck because of her political activities, the ever-resilient Lanckoronska cared for victims of medical experiments and taught art and European history. She eschewed her privileged status to join the ranks of prisoners, but as a Christian Lanckoronska never shared the ordeal of Jewish concentration camp prisoners, and her memoir says little about atrocities committed against European Jewry. Although the style is stilted and restrained, this is still a worthy, unsentimental eyewitness account that sheds welcome light on a tumultuous era of modern Polish history. 8 pages of b&w photos; map." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An inspiring memoir that records a neglected side of World War II
About the Author
Countess Karolina Lanckoronska (1898-2002) survived imprisonment and after the war lived in Rome, where she devoted herself to art history and to Polish culture and learning.