DYING, WE LIVE: The Personal Chronicle of a Young Freedom Fighter in Warsaw (1939-1945) by Julian Eugeniusz Kulski

DYING, WE LIVE: The Personal Chronicle of a Young Freedom Fighter in Warsaw (1939-1945)

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The story of Poland during the World War II, one of heroism and tragedy, is not easily told; and this thin memoir lacks the vision to bring it alive. Kulski, the son of an important Warsaw political figure, was only ten when the Germans invaded his country, and his experiences are presented in diary form, though much of the material was added after the war. Despite his age, Kulski joined the Polish underground, fought with the Polish Home Army in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and finished the war as a prisoner. When his camp was liberated, Kulski went along with the American and British soldiers, made his way to England (where he wrote out his experiences as therapy), and wound up in this country, where he is now an architect. Kulski saw a lot, including the 1943 Ghetto uprising (to which he was solely a witness) and the committing of atrocities by German and Ukranian troops; but his chronicle comes out flat, written as it is in an adolescent style (""Ludwik has left for Warsaw. I went with him to the station. He had an undefinably sad air about him. Nothing seems the same anymore""). One of the crucial aspects of the Warsaw Uprising was the relations between the Polish Home Army and the Russians, who offered no support. Though he mentions the Soviet immobility, and though he settled in the west, Kulski does not report any discussion of the Russians among his colleagues either before or after the Uprising. His vision is narrowly focused, and any chance to illuminate events from the scene of action is missed.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston