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Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz

Fate of a Hubal Soldier in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Postwar England

Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm

In Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz: Fate of a Hubal Soldier in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Postwar England, Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm traces the remarkable and tragic tale of Roman Rodziewicz, a true Polish hero of the Second World War. Roman’s childhood was spent in Manchuria where his father, first deported to Siberia, later worked as an engineer for a Chinese company. Following the loss of his parents early in life after returning to free Poland, Roman was trained to manage a self-sufficient estate farming and producing various livestock, vegetables, and honey. Prior to the German invasion of Poland, Roman attended military school at the Suwalki Cavalry Brigade. After the surrender of the Polish army, the partisan forces of Major Hubal continued to fight the Germans. The brave anti-German activities of the Hubal partisans beckoned Roman and he joined them. About eight months later Major Hubal was killed. Roman escaped and joined the underground as an officer fighting the German occupation forces. Captured and tortured, Roman was subsequently imprisoned in Auschwitz and later Buchenwald. After the American army rescued Roman, he joined the Polish army in Italy.

At the end of World War II Roman settled in England. One of the greatest misfortunes of his life was losing contact with his fiancé Halinka, and later learning she had married believing him to be dead. Two weeks after her marriage, she received a letter from Roman that he had survived the war. They met many years later, and Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm witnessed the meeting of Halinka and Roman in Warsaw. Roman continues to live in England now having reached the age of 100 years in January 2013. Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz explores the incredible story of one Polish soldier of World War II, and provides an illuminating contribution to the historical record of the period.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 166Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8535-3 • Hardback • October 2013 • $79.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4985-5696-5 • Paperback • June 2017 • $42.99 • (£29.95)
978-0-7391-8536-0 • eBook • October 2013 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, an independent scholar, is the author of many books and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including a fellowship in literature from the Delaware Divisions of Arts and a Fulbright scholarship.
Foreword by Matt DeLaMater
Chapter 1. Early Life in Manchuria
Chapter 2. Japanese Occupation
Chapter 3. Finally Poland
Chapter 4. Zofia’s Dream – Roman’s Dream
Chapter 5. Meeting Marshal Pilsudski
Chapter 6. More Education Problems
Chapter 7. Into the Cavalry
Chapter 8. Learning to be a Farmer
Chapter 9. All About Bees and Honey
Chapter 10. All About Lawski Bród
Chapter 11. All About Partridge
Chapter 12. Roman the Hunter
Chapter 13. Harbinger of War
Chapter 14. Decision to Join Colonel Dobrawski
Chapter 15. Under Major Dobrzanski’s Command
Chapter 16. Hubal – The Journal of Roman Rodziewicz
Chapter 17. Warsaw Rendez-vous – Halina
Chapter 18. A Belorussian Outpost
Chapter 19. The Unlucky Boots
Chapter 20. To Jail at Wolozyn
Chapter 21. Gestapo Interrogation
Chapter 22. To Prison in Stara Wilejka
Chapter 23. Train to Auschwitz, Birkenau
Chapter 24. Nightmares Relived
Chapter 25. Numbered for Life
Chapter 26. The Death of 30,000 Jewish Women
Chapter 27. To Buchenwald
Chapter 28. The Final Roll-Call-German Farewell
Chapter 29. Freed by Americans
Chapter 30. On to Italy
Chapter 31. Meeting Hubal’s Sister and Wankowicz
Chapter 32. Letter About Halina
Chapter 33. Uncertainty to Return
Chapter 34. My Best Friend in England
Chapter 35. English Marriage
Chapter 36. Visiting Poland
Chapter 37. Meeting With Halina
The author does, indeed, write about the Polish military hero Roman Rodziewicz in this volume. . . .She . . . [shows] the whole man and [examines] his entire life as it unfolds in his memoir as well as in his retelling.
The Sarmatian Review

I read this book about a Hubal soldier in one breath with delight. It will make such a wonderful contribution to a greater national recognition of what transpired during the difficult war years. It is a story that shouldn't be forgotten, and I think Ziolkowska-Boehm has done extremely well in providing a vivid picture of what was taking place.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Compelling, readable, and very moving!"

Recent Polish history abounds with heroic people and deeds, and it is a noble task of talented writers to tell their stories. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm takes a prominent place among them. In a fascinating, lucid narration she tells us about another hero, Roman Rodziewicz, born 1913 of Polish parents. His first 10 years were spent in Manchuria; in 1923 he repatriated to Poland. After the outbreak of WWII, he volunteered to join the first guerrilla unit of major ‘Hubal’ Dobrzanski, and served with him until his commander’s death. Later on he distinguished himself in many clandestine actions. Imprisoned by the Nazis Germans, he was liberated by the U.S. Army and spent the rest of his colorful life in England where, now 100 years old, he resides. Ziolkowska-Boehm's book represents a first-hand account of his heroic life.
Jerzy Krzyzanowski, Ohio State University

Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm has done it again— another fine book about Polish courage and character. Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz carries Roman Rodziewicz— and us—from Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930s to the German invasion of Poland in 1939, and from the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz to, finally, the life of a brave Polish survivor in postwar Great Britain. It is a story of earthshaking, violent events but also a very personal story of courage, patriotism and lost love.
Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson, authors of A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron—Forgotten Heroes of World War II

Among all European wars, World War II stands out, and will always do so, as the most significant and meaningful conflict since the Western tradition stood firm against Orientalism at Actium. It was no mere struggle over borders, but rather a conflict of ideas: of humanism versus barbarism. But the victory of the Allies, while reemphasizing liberal democracy and respect for the human individual over the Hitlerite system of dehumanizing racial exploitation, did not signify a victory for the entire continent. For Poland, the first country of all to stand up to the Nazis in 1939, liberation in 1945 was a hollow phrase, and resulted in merely the replacement of one totalitarianism with another. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm's new book, Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz is important in that it brings to the English reader the full diapason of the Polish situation before, during, and after the conflict. It is a welcome addition to the American library of World War II history, told, as always, in the inimitable and engaging prose of a true master of reportage.
Charles S. Kraszewski, Kings College and The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences