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When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 12. Mai 2006

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"Mr. Adamczyk writes heartfelt, straightforward prose.... This book sheds light on more than one forgotten episode of history." - Gordon Haber, New York Sun "One of the most remarkable World War II sagas I have ever read. It is history with a human face." - Andrew Beichman, Washington Times "Adamczyk recounts the story of his own wartime childhood with exemplary precision and immense emotional sensitivity, presenting the ordeal of one family with the clarity and insight of a skilled novelist.... I have read many descriptions of the Siberian odyssey and of other forgotten wartime episodes. But none of them is more informative, more moving, or more beautifully written than When God Looked the Other Way." - From the Foreword by Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History and Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw "A finely wrought memoir of loss and survival." - Publishers Weekly"


In the shadow of the Holocaust, the Soviet Union's quiet yet brutal campaign against Polish citizens is often overlooked. Wesley Adamczyk's gripping memoir, "When God Looked the Other Way", gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism. Adamczyk was a young Polish boy when he was deported with his mother and siblings from their comfortable home in Luck to Soviet Siberia in May of 1940. His father, a Polish Army officer, was taken prisoner by the Red Army and eventually became one of the victims of the Katyn massacre. The family's separation and deportation marked the beginning of a ten-year odyssey in which Adamczyk endured nearly intolerable living conditions, meager food rations, and life-threatening epidemics, first in the Soviet Union and then in Iran, where his mother succumbed to exhaustion after mounting a harrowing escape from the Soviets. A memoir of a childhood spent in unspeakable circumstances, "When God Looked the Other Way" not only illuminates one of the darkest periods of European history but also traces the loss of innocence and the fight against despair that took root in one young boy.

Unflinching and poignant, "When God Looked the Other Way" stands as a testament to the trials of a family during wartime and an intimate chronicle of an atrocity yet to receive its historical due.

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76 von 79 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Outstanding Recollection of a Little-Known Tragedy 13. Juni 2006
Von Jan Peczkis - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The teaching of history is often distorted by selective presentation of past events. Virtually everyone has heard of the 5-6 million Jews killed by the Germans. Few outside Polish circles have a clue about the fact that 2-3 million gentile Poles were also murdered by the Germans, and a few hundred thousand by the Soviets--first as Poland's sworn enemy and then as an "ally". While Churchill and Roosevelt were dilly-dallying with "Uncle Joe" Stalin, he was still murdering Poles and executing his plans to deprive "liberated" Poland from her rightful independence, freedom, and sovereignity. The western powers shamelessly disregarded the Atlantic Charter and betrayed the Poles--who all along had been fighting on their side on just about every front, and who had played a significant, if not decisive, role in preventing the Luftwaffe from achieving air supremacy over the English skies as a prelude to the planned German invasion (Operation Sea Lion).

This work provides an absorbing personal account of the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Poles by the Soviet Union following the German-Soviet conquest of Poland in 1939. Wes Adamczyk, then a boy of 7, was to lose his father in the infamous Katyn Massacre, and his entire family was uprooted and sent to a living death in Kazakhstan. He was one of the lucky few to be released and to eventually find his way to a new life in the United States. Decades later, he fulfilled his wish to visit the site of his father's murder near Smolensk, Russia.

The reader is exposed to the brutality of the Soviet police as they ransack the Adamczyk home, destroy objects related to Polish patriotism, and herd the family ("enemies of the people") into overcrowded trains for the fateful trip east. Every day becomes a battle for survival. They are near starvation. However, individual Kazakhs and Russians show friendship towards the Poles. The young Adamczyk befriends Mr. Petrovitch on a fishing boat. The moving account tells how the elderly Russian teaches the boy the truth about Communism. It is lies on top of lies on top of lies. In fact, the continued spying by the Soviet police on the captive Poles does not stem from the fact that they suspect that the Poles may escape or revolt. The spying comes from the fear that the locals may learn the truth about the outside world from the Poles--that the non-

Communist world is not rotten, and that the Soviet Union is no workers' paradise.

Nazi Germany turns against its erstwhile Soviet ally, creating a chance for the Poles, consigned to eventual death from starvation, overwork, and disease, to escape the Gulag. Negotiations "succeed" in securing the release of captive Poles. But the Soviets drag their feet, and only a fraction of still-living captive Poles end up being released. The Adamczyk family has to stage a near-escape adventure to reach Iran. The squalor of the just-freed Poles is indescribable. Thousands die right there, including Wes Adamczyk's mother--ironically just a short time after having finally left the clutches of the Soviet hell.

Tens of thousands of previously-captured Polish officers are found to be conspicuously and unexpectedly missing, and the Soviets say, "They all escaped to Manchuria". As time drags on, the Adamczyks realize the fate of their father and the remainder of the POWs. The Soviets don't admit responsibility for the Katyn Massacre until 1990. The long cover-up by western governments is little better than the decades-long Soviet one. The west needed a second coverup to cover its first coverup of the conspiracy of silence about this heinous Soviet crime.

The Adamczyks, like all surviving Poles, get a cruel blow when they learn that Roosevelt and Churchill have betrayed their faithful ally Poland by giving away eastern Poland to the Russians, and allowed a Communist puppet state to be forced on the rest of "liberated" Poland. In a sense, all of the Polish sufferings and sacrifices turn out to have been in vain. The Adamczyks, and millions of other Poles, have no home to return to. The only "happy ending" is a new life in America.
52 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An engrossing personal narrative 25. Mai 2004
Von Joseph Harris - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The great strength of this book is the author's ability to tell the story from the viewpoint of a young boy. The subject of the book, WWll, can be overwhelming but Mr. Adamczyk keeps the book fresh and alive because it is being told from the viewpoint of a boy. I know it is a cliche but I could not put the book down. High praise indeed for a non-fiction work.
61 von 65 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Why there's no Nuremberg trials for the Soviet Communists 11. September 2005
Von Mary McGreevey - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Anyone with half a brain might wonder why the Nazis are still minced to pieces in all media 60 years after the war's end, while the Soviets, with 70 years of blood on their hands, have passed quietly out of their Communist terrorism without any great international trials or severe criticisms by the Western media. Is it because the leftists still believe that "true Communism" has yet to be attempted? Well, perhaps, there are such fringe lunatics still around (in the Frisco and NYC areas).

No, the real answer lies in the deadly dealings of the Allies in WWII, in cooperating with Stalin in the Lend-lease supply of materiel, and in not condemning the murders, exile, and starvation of the Poles before Germany attacked Russia. In our all-out effort to defeat the Nazis, the USA and England cooperated in suppressing the knowledge of the 5,000 Polish officers and Polish civilians shot and buried by the Soviets in 1939, when they invaded and took over Eastern Poland. This famous massacre in the Katyn Forest was for years blamed on Hitler, when the Germans had not yet been in that side of Poland. Only when Gorbachev came to power was the murder order signed by Stalin made public - but Roosevelt knew, as did Churchill.

This remarkable book takes us into the frightening world Wiesiu Adamczck, a seven-year-old boy when his father, then 47, was taken away and killed in Katyn Forest, unbeknownst to his family - Wiesiu's mother, older sister and brother. They are all packed up on trains and sent to Kazakistan, as members of a bourgeois oppresser class, they must be punished according to Soviet logic.

The writer, now a man in his 70's, is an excellent wordsmith, who doesn't stint in telling what Russian and Polish expressions mean. He dwells on his own family, his own people and the terrible consequences of the Communist regime for the people of the USSR, for the Poles, and for all nations which fell to its avarice and terror after WWII. His incredible adventures, if you want to call them that, in surviving such a deportation through the Eastern republics of the chaotic war years, into Persia and finally to England, then the USA, is a ten-year journey of incredible hardship, hunger, cold and homelessness. His mother dies, and the truth about the father is known at the end of years of hoping against hope.

What Hollywood or the BBC could do with this material! The story of the Soviet empire and all its disgusting inhumanity should be aired out thoroughly, even more so than the Nazis' philosophy. If it should take root again, woe betide the planet and the millions to be starved in the future.

This book should be mandatory reading in the US high schools, as many students will never know that non-Jewish-descended EUropeans also suffered dreadful consequences during the war.

A skewered history is often a false one, and that is slowly happening throughout the US media, in omitting the Communist side of the horrendous torture and killing from 1917-onwards.

Well, this book will make it clear: FDR knew it, as he knew that Pearl Harbor was to be bombed.
36 von 38 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An insightful recollection by the innocent of the gruesome Soviet events 21. September 2005
Von ania - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Simply stated, this book reiterates everything my grandpa told me about the Russians' way of life and their mentality brought on by the deceitful communist system full of oppression and anti-western propaganda. Read and you will begin to fathom the injustice inflicted upon the peoples, both Polish and Russian. It will take generations to undo the damage.
24 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Odyssey of personal and national pride 3. September 2004
Von Thumper - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The shroud of secrecy that covered the pain and suffering encountered by many families during this time never let the world really see what sacrifices these families endured. The loss of family members, homes, dignity, and personal freedom are immense. Wesley's ability to write this book in a manner that is easy to read, yet heart wrenching all the same, is a gift to all who read this book. The perspective of a young boy on the painful road to freedom makes it human and real. As I read the book I was touched by what my relative had to endure - and knowing he was not the only one to makes this kind of odyssey only made me appreciate more the hard earned personal and national pride of the Polish community.
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