Introduction

While writing the story of my father’s life, I could hear his voice dictating to me, chapter after chapter. Although my father had died nine years before I began writing the book, nonetheless, I was able to put down accurately on paper everything he had told me that had occurred during his life. He was a Polish patriot who renounced his country, which had betrayed him and his people.

Jews had lived in Poland for nearly one thousand years and helped shape its culture and industry. Observant Jews lived in villages and towns alongside Jews who were distanced from religion along with Christians who did not consider the Jews any different from themselves. Among the Polish Jews were industrialists, doctors, lawyers, bankers, intellectuals and artists. My father’s family was well endowed with professionals. His father, my grandfather, was a distinguished lawyer who worked for the Ministry of Finance. His aunt was an enthusiastic communist who moved to Russia and never returned. His uncle, his father’s brother, was a general in the Narodnyj Komissariat Wnutriennich Diel (NKWD)[1]. His uncles were dentists in Warsaw and his great-grandfather was the well-known author Abtaham Shalom Friedberg. His grandmother’s brother, Juliusz Wolfsohn, was a famous composer and musician, while his aunt Isabella Grinevskaia was a playwright. His uncle Moshe Wolowelski was a wealthy real-estate mogul, his cousin was a surgeon, and my father was a dentist.

The war destroyed his world, interrupted his dreams and forced him to deal with new realities.

His loyalty and love for the old Poland that he knew so well slowly began to fade when he discovered that his nationalism was based on misconceptions about his Polish “brethren.” The Nazi occupation gave his Polish neighbors a golden opportunity to get rid of the “Jew boy” and enabled them to take their property. Many willingly collaborated with the Nazis during the war, and there were even those who killed many survivors after the war.

Although he unwillingly renounced his old homeland, nevertheless, he loved its culture and lived as a Pole in his new country until his death at age ninety-three.

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