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By Lilka Croydon-Trzcinska

Contributor note: ahead via Norman Davies

Lilka Trzcinska used to be fourteen years previous whilst the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. The daughter of an architect, Lilka used to be a highschool pupil on the time. whilst colleges have been closed through the occupier, she, with her siblings, persevered their schooling in mystery periods, and joined the Polish domestic military- the key resistance force.

Lilka and her kinfolk have been arrested by way of the Gestapo in 1943 and despatched to the political felony Pawiak, then to Auschwitz. There, Lilka's mom died and her more youthful sister used to be despatched off to a different camp. the remainder of the family members used to be placed to paintings within the camp construction workplaces. After being transported to a couple of different camps (in one example via a fashion of a three-day march), the 3 sisters have been reunited in 1945, and soon thereafter liberated by way of the British. Lilka later went to Italy to proceed her schooling, relocating to Canada in 1948.

The Labyrinth of risky Hours is the memoir of a survivor. Lilka Trzcinska-Croydon narrates her early life and that of her sisters and brother in a manner that binds poetry and historical past jointly seamlessly. It describes the power of the relations ties and cohesion that aid them emerge from their bad ordeal with their dignity intact.

As many as 150,000 Polish political prisoners have been taken in the course of the conflict, half whom died within the camps. This memoir is a testomony to their fight.

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To turn out himself to his bosses, he yelled orders on the most sensible of his voice. yet all of us knew that at center he was once a gradual fellow, and the lads weren't scared of his yelling. He had a eco-friendly triangle, signifying a felony. whilst, after a few weeks, we requested him why he was once in Auschwitz, he instructed us a tall tale approximately having defrauded the 3rd Reich of 1 million marks. He may possibly clarify to the Gestapo in basic terms what he had performed 90 Auschwitz with half the quantity. He was once imprisoned for now not with the ability to account for the opposite part. in the future he got here to our room and requested to speak to me privately. We went out into the hall, and he, to my nice shock, requested me through what identify my mom used to name me. I spoke back: 'Lilus' - a soft's' on the finish. He repeated a number of occasions: 'Lilush, Lilush. ' i used to be wondered, and back to my paintings. Later the hall resounded with a 'Lilush! Lilush! ' I got here out, and there he used to be, yelling my identify. He passed me a brush and led me to the SS place of work. It used to be round lunchtime, and there has been no one there, because the SS-man Krug and his co-worker have been out having their lunch within the SS canteen. after we went within, Bernard led me instantly to the radio and grew to become the knobs. all of sudden I heard the voice of the BBC announcer, and on got here the scoop in Polish. i used to be surprised and extremely joyful - who could have inspiration? I listened attentively, and used to be unexpectedly conscious of what an immense privilege it used to be with a purpose to pay attention the scoop and to take it to our acquaintances who have been ailing within the health facility and to different depended on prisoners in our block. It was once eleven might 1944. The announcer acknowledged that the Allies have been staging an assault at the Gustav Line, close to Monte Cassino, in Italy. in the following few days I heard that French North African troops had damaged throughout the Gustav Line by means of crossing the Aurunci Mountains. On 18 could the Polish troops of normal Anders captured the ruins of the monastery of Monte Cassino. i did not have a map to find a lot of these areas, but if I took the scoop to the opposite prisoners they defined the various geographical info. each night, as we marched into the camp, we have been met by way of a few buddies, wanting to listen concerning the battle fronts. certainly one of them was once Severyna Szmaglewska. She used to be not just within the conflict operations, for she additionally had a pal within the male workforce of our workplace - a tender architect, Witold Wisniewski - and that i grew to become a winged little cupid, sporting their love notes. I advised to Severyna that perhaps sooner or later she may perhaps take my position and subscribe to our Kommando in order that she might stopover at her cherished. We went forward with those preparations, and that i stayed together with her Kommando, which labored contained in the camp. Bernard used to be very valuable during this little romantic episode. Years later, whilst I visited Poland in 1958 for the 1st time given that my arrest and imprisonment, I visited Severyna. She used to be fortunately married to her Auschwitz sweetheart, Witold Wisniewski, and so they had younger boys. Severyna, who was once a journalist, wrote, quickly after her lib- Designing a Dream condominium ninety one eration, a deeply relocating account of her imprisonment, Smoke over Birkenau.

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