The author, a Christian Polish poet, essayist, playwright, and translator, is obsessed by his fellow Poles' treatment of Jews during World War II. At once a meditation, a journal, and a novel, this work agonizes over why the Poles blackmailed and denounced Jews, displaying a sense of collective guilt for the Polish people. The Umschlagplatz, the area of the Warsaw ghetto in which Jews were gathered for deportation to the death camps, is selected as the focus of Rymkiewicz's chronicle because events there happened right under the noses of Warsaw's Polish Christian community. The author cites many Jewish memoirs and accounts of the time, including those by Emanuel Ringeblum, Aron Kaplan, Adam Caerniakow, and Marek Edelman. A fictional passage depicting Jews and Christians at a summer resort before the war is particularly poignant. This well-researched account of the Poles' relationship to the Holocaust is recommended for most libraries.-- Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.