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the mermaid and the messerschmitt rulka langer aquila Polonica £18.99

the ice rOad stefan Waydenfeld aquila Polonica £18.99

WARSAW 1939. The outbreak of war. Two families, two very different stories of survival

against the odds and the triumph of the human spirit over tyranny. There are many such tales, but these

two offer a very different insight into a story we think we’ve heard many times before. Rulka Langer’s story begins a few weeks before the invasion and charts the last peaceful summer before the horrors of war unfold. A young working mother, she is

preparing to travel to America to join her diplomat husband with their two children when hostilities break out. Those last few calm weeks before the war swiftly give way to death, terror and mayhem as the Polish capital finds itself under immediate and relentless attack from the air as the first Nazi assault on Warsaw gets under way. Her stark description of life in a city

under siege and the hour-by-hour struggle for survival is as vivid and fresh today as it was when she wrote the book – nearly 70 years ago. The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt

was first published in 1941, before the full extent of the Nazi horrors were known and before the mighty city was completely destroyed by Hitler’s forces. Rulka Langer, her son George and

The Ice Road by Stefan Waydenfeld is no less chilling, telling as it does the less-reported atrocities enacted on the polish people by Stalin. Seen through

daughter Ania do make it across the Atlantic to start a new life, leaving behind not only the devastation of their home city but also Rulka’s mother and brother who, for their own reasons, do not want to leave Poland. Harrowing as Rulka Langer’s tale is,

the eyes of Stefan – a 14-year-old when war breaks out – the story unfolds of his family’s arrest and exile to a Siberian slave labour camp and their eventual journey to freedom. Stefan’s father is a doctor and his

mother a scientist – enough for them to be condemned as enemies of the people under Stalin’s Communist regime. They are lied to and brutalised as they are transported in filthy, unheated cattle wagons with little food or water over several weeks to the frozen wastes of Siberia. It is reckoned that in the 20 months

between the start of the war and the Nazi invasion of Russia upwards of 1.7million Polish people were deported to the Soviet Union. They were given an amnesty when Hitler broke his peace treaty with Stalin, but for many of them life continued to be a trial under a harsh, brutal and anti-Polish regime. After many months of forced labour,

Stefan and his parents are released from the camp at Kvasha, where daytime temperatures sometimes slumped to -50C and returned to the cattle wagons which take them thousands of miles south – and into further persecution from the Soviets not because they are Jewish, which they are, but because they are Polish. Stefan’s uncle Adam, a Polish Army

officer, was also arrested in the early days of the Soviet occupation but met a tragic end as one of the thousands massacred by the Russians at Katyn. Both titles are from Aquila Polonica,

who specialise in publishing the Polish experience of World War 2, a version of events not widely known in the west. For more information see

Background image copyright © 2010 Stefan Mucha

the mermaid and the messerschmitt rulka langer aquila Polonica £18.99

the ice rOad stefan Waydenfeld aquila Polonica £18.99

WARSZAWA, 1939. Wybuch wojny. Dwie rodziny, dwie bardzo różne opowieści o przetrwanie wbrew logice

i o zwyciestwie ludzkiego ducha nad tyranią. Wiele jest takich opowieści, ale te

dwie oferują bardzo różne spojrzenia na temat, o którym słyszeliśmy wiele razy. Opowieść Rulki Langer zaczyna się na kilka tygodni przed inwazją i kreśli obraz ostatniego lata poprzedzającego koszmar wojny. Młoda matka przygotowuje się

z dwójką dzieci do podróży do Ameryki, aby połączyć się z mężem na placówce dyplomatycznej, gdy wybuch wojny uniemożliwił podróż. Te ostatnie spokojne tygodnie przed

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