"This is the best kind of fiction-it's based on the real life. Ludwika's story highlights the magnitude of human suffering caused by WWII, transcending multiple generations and many nations.
WWII left no one unscarred, and Ludwika's life illustrates this tragic fact. But she also reminds us how bright the human spirit can shine when darkness falls in that unrelenting way it does during wartime.
This book was a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion, skilfully told by Mr. Fischer, who brought something fresh and new to a topic about which thousands of stories have already been told."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is difficult to put into words how this novel affected me. Luckily for Ludwika she was not Jewish which had to be proved several times or her life would probably have been worse. Nazi Germany was not a very pleasant place to be if you were not totally German. Work camps were set up for non Germans and they were horrendous. She was a trusting soul-actually she had no choice. It seemed at every turn just when she thought all would be well--something else happened. How she kept her spirits up--I will never know. Luckily for her there was always some kind soul who helped her out--until it did not suit their purposes. What keeps going through my head is "if you don't remember history--you will repeat it". It kind of reminded me of what is going on in this country right now--I hope we all wake up!!
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Ludwika: A Polish Woman's Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany is an historical novel written by Christoph Fischer. The author based this novel on the actual life and experiences of Ludwika Gierz. In the later part of 1939, Ludwika was 22 years old and the unwed mother of a five-year-old daughter, who followed her around constantly. Ludwika's parents had welcomed the child and been supportive of their daughter, but her father had left the town of Przedborow with the armed forces and hadn't been heard of since. While Ludwika still sang for the local children and delighted in their company, as they did in hers, she couldn't help but feel troubled at the increasingly fragile hold her family seemed to have on their farm and life. The wheat was almost past the time for harvesting, and she and her sister worked feverishly to harvest it by hand, but they did need help with moving it. They knew that a neighboring farmer had hidden his agricultural equipment, and Ludwika decided to break into the barn and commandeer a tractor. While she was riding it back to their farm, a German officer on a motorbike overtook her and ordered her off the road. Moments later, a convoy of German vehicles passed by. The two had exchanged names during that brief encounter, and Manfred would later come by the Gierz farm to meet with her, until finally he made a proposal for her to come and stay with him in Germany. It would be safer for her, and he promised to get her documentation attesting to her Germanic background. It was hard leaving her family, but, somehow, Ludwika believed it was her best chance to do something for all of them, and she took it. Christoph Fischer's historical novel, Ludwika: A Polish Woman's Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany, offers a little-known look into the impact the occupation of the Germans had on the lives of the Polish people during World War II. While I've read a great deal of historical literature focusing on that time, I still found much I hadn't known about that occupation and the difficulties the survivors faced in the aftermath of the war. I soon found myself wrapped up in Ludwika’s story as she learned to survive in Berlin, where the mandatory letter P on her sleeve meant she’d always be considered an inferior, and her strength and resilience throughout those years of turmoil are inspirational. Fischer's tale is well written, and his characters are unforgettable, especially Ludwika's friend and mentor, Fritz, and Luca, the Italian-Dutch man who captured her heart. Ludwika: A Polish Woman's Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany is most highly recommended.
WWII novels evoke a lot of emotions, regardless of what perspective the author is writing from. This book is no exception. It's about a young woman (non-Jewish) named Ludwika who makes a difficult decision to leave Poland and go to Germany with a Nazi officer. She leaves her daughter behind, but hopes her leaving means her family will continue to be safe and taken care of. Ludwika seems to be symbolic of how the rest of the world viewed the Nazi invasions and atrocities. She is naive and doesn't want to think about what is going on, concerned only with herself and how her family is faring. She listens to the news headlines, but doesn't want to read the papers to find out the rest of the story. That is, until it's too obvious to ignore any more, and she's thrust into the terror. What makes the story tug on your heartstrings even more is that it's based off the life of a real person. You feel her pain. But she preservers. A good book about choices people make--good or bad--that affect the rest of their lives.