Henry
When Katrina Shawver met the eighty-five year old Henry Zguda, he possessed an exceptional memory, a surprising cache of original documents and photos, and a knack for meeting the right people at the right time. Couched in the interview style of Tuesdays with Morrie, Henry relates in his own voice a life as a champion swimmer, interrupted by three years imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a Polish political prisoner. With a pragmatic gallows humor, and sense of hope, he showed the author how to truly live for today, preferably with a shot of good Polish vodka. Henry's path of resiliency and power of connection are as relevant today, as they were in World War II.Henry reminds us that no single class of people was safe from Hitler's reach or imprisonment, and no country suffered more under Hitler and Stalin than Poland. This bridge to history and view of the Holocaust through Polish eyes is supported by extensive research, and features more than 70 original photos and rare German documents. Ultimately, Henry is the story a strong young man, who survives by his wits, humor, friends, and a healthy dose of luck. This book is for the discerning adult looking for an intelligent read that examines World War II, the Holocaust, and the true meaning of friendship then and now.

Henry Details

TitleHenry
Author
ReleaseNov 1st, 2017
PublisherKoehler Books
ISBN-139781633935235
Rating
GenreHistory, War, Nonfiction, World War II, Holocaust, Adventure, Survival, European Literature, Polish Literature

Henry Review

  • *Avonna
    January 1, 1970
    Check out all of my reviews at http://www.avonnalovesgenres.comHENRY: A POLISH SWIMMER’S TRUE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP FROM AUSCHWITZ TO AMERICA by Katrina Shawver is a memoir/biography that had me turning the pages and finishing this memorable read in just two sittings.Katrina Shawver was trying to come up with a new story for her column in ‘The Arizona Republic’ when she heard about a former Polish swimming star who survived the death camps of WWII Germany. After her column ran, she knew she had to Check out all of my reviews at http://www.avonnalovesgenres.comHENRY: A POLISH SWIMMER’S TRUE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP FROM AUSCHWITZ TO AMERICA by Katrina Shawver is a memoir/biography that had me turning the pages and finishing this memorable read in just two sittings.Katrina Shawver was trying to come up with a new story for her column in ‘The Arizona Republic’ when she heard about a former Polish swimming star who survived the death camps of WWII Germany. After her column ran, she knew she had to continue meeting with Henry and tell his entire story. He had an amazing cache of original documents and pictures with stories for them all. This book documents Henry’s story in his own words and the author interjects her own research that verifies Henry’s stories.Henry tells his story to Ms. Shawver over many taped meetings. With gallows humor and always a sense of hope, Henry recalls his youth and capture by the Germans as they rounded up all Polish young men after their invasion. Henry was a strong young man who was a champion swimmer and water polo player for the Krakow YMCA team at the time of his arrest. Catholic and a proud Pole, Henry was sent to Auschwitz 1 as a political prisoner. There are several instances when Henry should have died, but he always seemed to know someone who would find him at just the right time to help him survive. Henry knows he was incredibly lucky. From Auschwitz to Buchenwald, Henry details camp life. Even with all the killing and death, there are stories that sound absurd to the situation, but were small moments to forget where and what they were living through so that they could hope and survive for another day.I have read many stories of the camps from Jewish survivor stories, but this book is through the eyes of a Polish political prisoner. I learned that they could and did send and receive mail, that there were underground activities ongoing in the camps and that the prisoners were segregated from the Jewish prisoners. Buchenwald held mainly German communists, criminals, Jehovah Witnesses, gypsies and the 1000 political prisoner Poles sent from Auschwitz until almost the end of the war.Henry survives to live under communist rule in Poland because he returns home to his mother. After she is gone, he and a friend have the chance to escape to freedom in the west and they take it.You will not be able to resist Henry. He is an ordinary young man who survived and lived an extraordinary life. If you are like me and devour books about WWII, this one should definitely be on your list. Thanks very much to Koehler Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I could not have enjoyed it more.
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  • James Martin
    January 1, 1970
    HENRY is an extraordinary addition to the body of WWII literature. It is the harrowing personal experiences of this Catholic Pole as a prisoner in the German concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau that yield information found nowhere else and keep the reader riveted to the page. Shawver has captured the essence of Henry as he weathered unbelievable hard times and yet retained his human dignity and hope in spite of everything. A life well-lived. A swimming star to cheer for!" Ja HENRY is an extraordinary addition to the body of WWII literature. It is the harrowing personal experiences of this Catholic Pole as a prisoner in the German concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau that yield information found nowhere else and keep the reader riveted to the page. Shawver has captured the essence of Henry as he weathered unbelievable hard times and yet retained his human dignity and hope in spite of everything. A life well-lived. A swimming star to cheer for!" James Conroyd Martin, Author of "The Boy Who Wanted Wings."
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  • Amy Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Inspiring!Getting to know Henry is absolutely inspiring. Henry spells out and reconstructions his life for the author, bringing his story of survival from one of the darkest and horrific times in history. It was created by the author's interviews with Henry Zguda, and it was remarkable. "Henry was a Catholic Pole who had been arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for three years in concentration camps for one reason only: he was Polish, and Germany had sworn to destroy all of Poland. He’d been a re Inspiring!Getting to know Henry is absolutely inspiring. Henry spells out and reconstructions his life for the author, bringing his story of survival from one of the darkest and horrific times in history. It was created by the author's interviews with Henry Zguda, and it was remarkable. "Henry was a Catholic Pole who had been arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for three years in concentration camps for one reason only: he was Polish, and Germany had sworn to destroy all of Poland. He’d been a respected survivor in Poland, or “Auschwitzer." The photos of Henry and his family, were wonderful and ageless. It's a heartfelt, heart warming and heart breaking story. History comes alive, with all its darkness, secrets, terrors and life-filled events. This reader read every single word, and even went back. It's one you won't want to miss, and you shouldn't miss. Highly Recommended story.
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  • Hobart
    January 1, 1970
    This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.--- Looking for something for her Arizona Republic column, Katrina Shawver found and interviewed Henry Zguda, a octogenarian, who'd been a competitive swimmer in Poland who'd spent three years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The interview struck a chord with her and she soon returned to his home to propose they write a book about his experiences.This book is the result of a series of interviews Shawver conducted with Henry, her own research (incl This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.--- Looking for something for her Arizona Republic column, Katrina Shawver found and interviewed Henry Zguda, a octogenarian, who'd been a competitive swimmer in Poland who'd spent three years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The interview struck a chord with her and she soon returned to his home to propose they write a book about his experiences.This book is the result of a series of interviews Shawver conducted with Henry, her own research (including trips to the original sites), and some letters, photographs, etc. that Henry provided (some of which Henry pilfered from Auscwitz' records some time after the war!). We get an idea what life was like in Poland before Hitler invaded and began to destroy the nation and its citizens -- then we get several chapters detailing his life in the camps. Following that, we get a brief look at his life in Poland after the war and when the Communists took over, followed by his life in America after that -- meeting his wife and living a life that many of us would envy. The bulk of the book is told using transcripts (with a little editing) of interview tapes with Henry, so the reader can "hear" his voice telling his stories. Shawver will stitch together the memories with details and pictures, as well as with bits of her trip to Poland and the camps there. We are also treated to a glance at the friendship that develops between Henry, Shawver and Henry's wife through the production of the book. More than once while reading it, I thought about how much I was enjoying the read -- and then I felt guilty and wrong for doing so. This was a book about someone who lived through Auschwitz and Buchenwald, how dare I find it charming and want to read more (not for information, or to have a better idea what atrocities were committed). I've watched (and read the transcript) Claude Lanzmann's Shoah (for one example), and never once thought about cracking a smile. I certainly never wanted to spend more time with the subjects. This is all because of the way that Shawver told Henry's story, and Henry's own voice. I did learn a lot -- I should stress. For example, there was mail back and forth between the prisoners and family (for those that were willing to give the Nazis an address for their family), Henry at one point looks at some letters from prisoners online, checking not for names, but numbers he recognizes. Or the idea that there were light periods in the labor duty -- not out of mercy, compassion or anything, but because the guards got time off, and there was no one to make the prisoner's work.The subtitle does tell us that it's a story of friendship -- several friendships, actually. Without his friends, Henry's story would have likely been much shorter, with very different ending. It's easy to assume that others could say that because of Henry, as well. There's also the story of the brief friendship of Henry and Shawvver, without her, we wouldn't have this book. There were some moments early on that I thought that Shawvver might be giving us too much about her in the book, but I got used to it and understood why she chose that. In the end her "presence" in the book's unfolding helps the reader learn to appreciate Henry the man,not just Henry the historical figure. This is a deceptively easy read, the conversational tone of Henry's segments, particularly, are engaging and you're hearing someone tell you great stories of his youth. Until you stop and listen to what he's talking about, then you're horrified (and relieved, sickened, inspired, and more). Shawver should be commended for the way she kept the disparate elements in this book balanced while never undercutting the horrible reality that Henry survived.This is something that everyone should read -- it's too easy to hear about the Holocaust, about the concentration camps, and everything else and think of them as historical events, statistics. But reading this (or books like it), helps you to see that this happened to people -- not just people who suffered there -- but people who had lives before and after this horror. If we can remember that it was about people hurting people, nothing more abstract, maybe there's hope we won't repeat this kind of thing.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Henry: A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America by Katrina Shawver is a fabulous read. I highly recommend it!
  • Jack Mayer
    January 1, 1970
    Elie Wiesel said “'When you listen to a witness, you become a witness.” Katrina Shawver’s luminous non-fiction, Henry:A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America is a beautifully rendered act of witness and love about an extraordinary Pole, Henry Zguda, a Christian, a political prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Shawver’s compelling narrative illuminates Henry’s memories as well as his heart and his enduring humor. She has rescued Henry’s vital piece of Holocaust his Elie Wiesel said “'When you listen to a witness, you become a witness.” Katrina Shawver’s luminous non-fiction, Henry:
A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America is a beautifully rendered act of witness and love about an extraordinary Pole, Henry Zguda, a Christian, a political prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Shawver’s compelling narrative illuminates Henry’s memories as well as his heart and his enduring humor. She has rescued Henry’s vital piece of Holocaust history so that we don’t forget, and as an immunization against recurrence. Everyone who reads Henry becomes a witness. – Jack Mayer, Vermont writer and pediatrician, author of LIFE IN A JAR: THE IRENA SENDLER PROJECT, non-fiction about the Warsaw ghetto and a new historical fiction about the rise of the Third Reich, BEFORE THE COURT OF HEAVEN.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to give this book a higher rating. However, the organization and writing were a distraction. The author admits she had a hard time pulling the hours of interviews and her extensive research together. Unfortunately she didn’t get enough help to make this work as important as the material deserves. What has become of talented editors? Henry’s remembrances of growing up in Poland, as a survivor of WWII concentration camps, the Nazi death March, post-war Russian rule and finally emig I really wanted to give this book a higher rating. However, the organization and writing were a distraction. The author admits she had a hard time pulling the hours of interviews and her extensive research together. Unfortunately she didn’t get enough help to make this work as important as the material deserves. What has become of talented editors? Henry’s remembrances of growing up in Poland, as a survivor of WWII concentration camps, the Nazi death March, post-war Russian rule and finally emigration to America are fascinating. The author frequently veered from Henry’s retelling into background material without transition. Varied type or headers could easily have corrected this cumbersome feature. It is obvious that the author went to great lengths to research and verify the material but sometimes it becomes more about her and less about Henry’s incredible story.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC.
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  • Maria Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    A GiftI will admit that I am drawn to stories of the holocaust and the trials suffered in the Second World War. I have read a number of books both fiction and non-fiction regarding this topic. I have a great admiration and respect for anyone who has suffered through that time and I feel that their stories must continue to be heard as often and by as many of us as possible.Shawver had the privilege of meeting Henry Zguda, a Polish survivor of Aushwitz and Buchenwald, via an article she was writin A GiftI will admit that I am drawn to stories of the holocaust and the trials suffered in the Second World War. I have read a number of books both fiction and non-fiction regarding this topic. I have a great admiration and respect for anyone who has suffered through that time and I feel that their stories must continue to be heard as often and by as many of us as possible.Shawver had the privilege of meeting Henry Zguda, a Polish survivor of Aushwitz and Buchenwald, via an article she was writing for The Arizona Republic and recognized the opportunity at hand to tell his story. This book is, as I see it, a labor of love and a project that Shawver willingly agreed to undertake without compensation and without a solid plan as to how she would pull it off. I mention this because as I read the book, I was overcome with the sense that this book not only needed to be written but also navigated itself as Henry’s story unfolded. The book is written interview style with Shawver’s presence an active character as she not only interviews Henry over a course of time but also includes her daily challenges in getting his story down while tending to her daily responsibilities as a wife, mother, and parental caretaker. This may sound strange but these parts of the book actually serve as a reminder as to how precarious a project such as this one can be and how we might easily not have heard this story at all if the author wasn’t who she is.Sawver also adds to the book a great deal of personal research. She travelled to the places that Henry speaks of and gathers valuable artifacts that are photographed to further illuminate Henry’s experience. The book has a reverent feel, almost as if you are moving through the book version of a memorial museum as Shawver describes her own trauma in the second-hand reliving of potent memories and acts of sheer horror.Henry’s voice captured in his broken English shines through as he remembers for us, his past and what he endured. A handsome and imposing figure both in his youth and older years, we meet an exceptional man with an iron will. Henry speaks frequently about the forces at play that kept him alive during such an arduous journey. He comes across as accepting of his fate without a trace of bitterness but still with a healthy sense of outrage over the cruelties of man and the horrific ways that cruelty played out. His affectedness runs deep yet his love of life and mankind is ever present. He pays homage to the luck he was fortunately on the receiving end of many times but his point of view will not be lost on those who can clearly see what he had suffered and lost. This story is worth all of our time. One of the photos included in the book was one of an older Henry and his wife Nancy well after Henry settled in the United States. I could not help thinking upon seeing that photo that this was a couple I might have seen sharing a meal in a diner or sitting together on a park bench never realizing the extraordinary lives they have led. It made me wonder how many more stories are hidden behind the eyes of people we superficially see but do not know. Stories like this one are gifts and a privilege to read. Don’t let this one pass you by. I guarantee you will be better for having read it.BRB Rating: Read It
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  • Priya
    January 1, 1970
    Having read quite a bit of fiction set around WW2 times,I was not unfamiliar with some of the horrors of the war.Nevertheless, this account of a survivor, a man who actually went through all that torture and lived to tell the tale, was truly chilling!Henry's story brought out the fact that along with Jews, many Poles were also imprisoned in the concentration camps, something which I for one didn't know.The horrible conditions of the camps, the backbreaking work given to the prisoners, severe lac Having read quite a bit of fiction set around WW2 times,I was not unfamiliar with some of the horrors of the war.Nevertheless, this account of a survivor, a man who actually went through all that torture and lived to tell the tale, was truly chilling!Henry's story brought out the fact that along with Jews, many Poles were also imprisoned in the concentration camps, something which I for one didn't know.The horrible conditions of the camps, the backbreaking work given to the prisoners, severe lack of food and the cruelty of the guards and directors, as told in the words of Henry, really brought out the horrors of a war that destroyed everything in its wake.Neither hope nor positivity nor spirit would have helped anyone survive these camps as they were utterly inhuman. The methods of killing the inmates.. Lining them enmasse and shooting them, luring them into basement rooms and hanging from hooks on the wall, gassing innocent people before they knew what was happening... Was something witnessed everyday. Survival was by extreme good luck or contacts.Even years later, seeing pictures and hearing about the ovens used to dispose the bodies and the way corpses were piled up is unbearable.These stories need to be told so that the world is aware and consciously prevents the creation of an environment where such a thing occurs. This must serve as a lesson to never allow discrimination on any basis to blind people to their human sides and make them monsters.So many millions lost their lives and few like Henry who survived were surely never the same again.The history of the war and the snippets of information on the countries involved were enlightening.It was not a tough book to understand though the subject made it a difficult one to read.
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  • Michelle Kidwell
    January 1, 1970
    Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship From Auschwitz to Americaby Katrina ShawverKoehler BooksIndependent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ TitlesBiographies & Memoirs , HistoryPub Date 01 Nov 2017I am reviewing a copy of Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story Of Friendship From Auschwitz to America from Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Netgalley:This book only came to Fruition through multiple first person interviews that were recorded from November 2 Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship From Auschwitz to Americaby Katrina ShawverKoehler BooksIndependent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ TitlesBiographies & Memoirs , HistoryPub Date 01 Nov 2017I am reviewing a copy of Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story Of Friendship From Auschwitz to America from Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Netgalley:This book only came to Fruition through multiple first person interviews that were recorded from November 2002-2003 with Henry Zguda. English was his fifth languageHenry Zguda was a polish swimmer who survived three years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War Two But he survived and went on to live the American dream.Henry was catholic and had been accused to listening to the BBC he was severely beaten until he passed out.Henry talks about poverty, and hunger but also the escape he found in swimming. He talks about his first love.One day while sitting with the girl he was in love with, Henry was badly beaten because his attackers were certain he was Jewish. He had grown up around anti-Semitism throughout his early life, and only had three Jewish friends in that time.Henry goes on to talk candidly about the abuse in the camps, the starvation, the depravity. He dropped to a hundred pounds, ready to die. He goes on to say he survived the camp because he was lucky and new someone. Henry survived the camp despite nearly dying of Typhoid fever and any number of infections.In January of 1959 Henry, in January of 1960 he married Nancy a woman from a large Italian family.I give Henry five out of five stars!Happy Reading
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  • Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
    January 1, 1970
    Henry – A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America by Katrina Shawver is a biography on a Polish national who survived the horrors of concentration camps and World War II. Ms. Shawver is a journalist and a public speaker who happened to live near Mr. Zguda.This is one of those books I take pleasure in reading. The book combines personal experiences of the subject, the author, and a bit of history to create a fascinating narrative.Mr. Zguda was considered a threat by th Henry – A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America by Katrina Shawver is a biography on a Polish national who survived the horrors of concentration camps and World War II. Ms. Shawver is a journalist and a public speaker who happened to live near Mr. Zguda.This is one of those books I take pleasure in reading. The book combines personal experiences of the subject, the author, and a bit of history to create a fascinating narrative.Mr. Zguda was considered a threat by the regime, he was not Jewish but was considered a political threat. An athlete with good connections, he managed to survive three years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Mr. Zguda tells his story as if it was nothing remarkable, with dark humor and a positive attitude.The book includes original documents and photographs, many of which Mr. Zguda had in his possession not knowing their historical value. At the end, Mr. Zguda points out the good years have been much more that the bad years, and that is what he wants to get across. A lesson we should all take to heart.This is not a polished books, as the author mentioned. She tried to get across the story as told to her by Henry Zguda, including his personality. I believe she succeeded, as I felt as if I knew Mr. Zguda by the end of the book even though I never met him.For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Henry Zguda, a Catholic Pole, survived the concentration camps of World War II. He is the first one to say it was because he was lucky and had friends in good places. Through his conversations with Ms. Shawver, the reader gets an inside look at the daily events in the life of a prisoner. There really wasn't much about Mr. Zguda being a swimmer. I expected more of that. What I didn't expect was all the additional information provided about politics, geography, history, and religion provided by bo Henry Zguda, a Catholic Pole, survived the concentration camps of World War II. He is the first one to say it was because he was lucky and had friends in good places. Through his conversations with Ms. Shawver, the reader gets an inside look at the daily events in the life of a prisoner. There really wasn't much about Mr. Zguda being a swimmer. I expected more of that. What I didn't expect was all the additional information provided about politics, geography, history, and religion provided by both Mr. Zguda and Ms. Sawver. I loved it! Ms. Sawver did a great job of relating the information to common knowledge so it made sense. I was also surprised by the detailed records the Germans kept on their prisoners. The stories were engaging and educational: my favorite combo in a non-fiction book!A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Koehler Books in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Marcia Fine
    January 1, 1970
    HENRY —A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America by Katrina ShawverKatrina Shawver has written an accurate account of one man's journey through the Holocaust who wasn't Jewish. We cannot forget the others who stood up for us when few were willing to do so. Henry Zguda was a hero, one, who with his strong, tall body and handsome countenance, was liked by everyone he met.That is, until he was picked up with his sports team by the Nazis. How does he survive their vicious HENRY —A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America by Katrina ShawverKatrina Shawver has written an accurate account of one man's journey through the Holocaust who wasn't Jewish. We cannot forget the others who stood up for us when few were willing to do so. Henry Zguda was a hero, one, who with his strong, tall body and handsome countenance, was liked by everyone he met.That is, until he was picked up with his sports team by the Nazis. How does he survive their vicious behavior when so many did not? His inspiring story has been told in his words, documents from archives that corroborate his story and many photos that prove he was there. It is a true testimonial of a Polish man who lights the human spirit in all of us. We can be indebted to him for his bravery and willingness to share as well as Ms. Shawver's dogged research to fill in details. An impressive triumph!Marcia Fine
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  • Mariejkt
    January 1, 1970
    "Henry" by Katrina Shawver is a book about Henry a polish swimmers life and friendships from Auschwitz to America. What a powerful book, yes, books from Holocaust survivors are almost always powerful but this one was different. Why do I say different as the author writes what Henry reveals to her and he did not hold back anything he seen even pictures he had. Some of the things this man had seen and told about I had no idea about as I had not heard about them such as the women that were made to "Henry" by Katrina Shawver is a book about Henry a polish swimmers life and friendships from Auschwitz to America. What a powerful book, yes, books from Holocaust survivors are almost always powerful but this one was different. Why do I say different as the author writes what Henry reveals to her and he did not hold back anything he seen even pictures he had. Some of the things this man had seen and told about I had no idea about as I had not heard about them such as the women that were made to be prostitutes for some of the prisoners. The horror that people put other people thru is just horrible but this book is a must read. It may be hard to read for older teens but if they are studying on World War 2 that they need to read it. I highly recommend this book just know it is graphic and open and honest.I was given this book from NetGalley for my honest review and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Received this book from NetGalley for my honest review.This book was told to Katrina Shawver by Henry Zguda. Katrina interviewed Henry for a short story and from that short story she realized that Henry had so much more to tell. Henry was from Poland and was sent to numerous concentration camps. Hitler didn't just exterminate Jews and only put Jews in concentration camps it was a lot of different people to include people from Poland. This story is a mixture between Henry's story and Katrina's st Received this book from NetGalley for my honest review.This book was told to Katrina Shawver by Henry Zguda. Katrina interviewed Henry for a short story and from that short story she realized that Henry had so much more to tell. Henry was from Poland and was sent to numerous concentration camps. Hitler didn't just exterminate Jews and only put Jews in concentration camps it was a lot of different people to include people from Poland. This story is a mixture between Henry's story and Katrina's story when she went to verify Henry's story. I am very interested in any books that deal with this subject and this book opened my eyes to even some things that I was not aware of like at Auschwitz they actually had a canteen and the prisoners could buy things. In one of the concentration camps there was a theater. The book was a tad disjointed and to me the title didn't fit at all but the book was very very good.
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  • Jay Williams
    January 1, 1970
    I was a little disappointed to discover this book is as much about the author as it is about Henry. Henry's descriptions of Poland and the concentration camps were extremely good and interesting. The author's first hand account of her visits to the areas in the book was quite good for the present day. Her description of the political structure of ancient Poland was a little naïve and superficial. Henry's story is a remarkable testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the evil of Nazi act I was a little disappointed to discover this book is as much about the author as it is about Henry. Henry's descriptions of Poland and the concentration camps were extremely good and interesting. The author's first hand account of her visits to the areas in the book was quite good for the present day. Her description of the political structure of ancient Poland was a little naïve and superficial. Henry's story is a remarkable testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the evil of Nazi activity during World War II. His memories add much to the knowledge of goings on in the German concentration camps. I would really enjoy a book that focused on Henry's life without being mixed into the feelings of the author. She has done a remarkable job of researching the places and events, and the results are obvious in the story.
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  • Shari Stauch
    January 1, 1970
    This is more topical today than ever, and a brilliant portrait by Shawver of a man imprisoned in Auschwitz. He was Polish, and a Christian, just in the wrong place at a dark time in history. The amazing telling, in Henry's own voice, reveals an impeccable character. And the items in his possession, illustrated throughout the pages (and now many in museums) are a revelation. I thought I knew much of the history of these dark times, I learned so much more! Kudos to the author for discovering this This is more topical today than ever, and a brilliant portrait by Shawver of a man imprisoned in Auschwitz. He was Polish, and a Christian, just in the wrong place at a dark time in history. The amazing telling, in Henry's own voice, reveals an impeccable character. And the items in his possession, illustrated throughout the pages (and now many in museums) are a revelation. I thought I knew much of the history of these dark times, I learned so much more! Kudos to the author for discovering this story and sharing it with the world.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    The chance phone tip leads journalist Katrina Shawver to Henry Zguda, who has led a most amazing life and has a most compelling story to tell. A story about his boyhood in Poland prior to WWII, about German occupation, about Auschwitz-Birkenau. Henry spoke with a thick Polish accent, though he spoke four other languages: German, French, Latin and English. With the words, "Henry, what do you think if we write a book?", this fascinating story comes to each and every one of us. I read this EARC cou The chance phone tip leads journalist Katrina Shawver to Henry Zguda, who has led a most amazing life and has a most compelling story to tell. A story about his boyhood in Poland prior to WWII, about German occupation, about Auschwitz-Birkenau. Henry spoke with a thick Polish accent, though he spoke four other languages: German, French, Latin and English. With the words, "Henry, what do you think if we write a book?", this fascinating story comes to each and every one of us. I read this EARC courtesy of Net Galley and Kohler Books. pub date 11/01/17
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  • Videoclimber(AKA)MTsLilSis
    January 1, 1970
    Henry's story is inspiring and amazing. Shawver's writing is in desperate need of proofreading and editing. The storyline is disjointed, hard to follow, and at times repetitive. Sadly the poor writing style distracted from the story. This could have and should have been a five star read.*Thank you to NetGalley, The Publisher, and The Author for allowing me to read an ARC of this book. The opinions are my own and are not influenced by the gift of this book.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Katrina Shawver is a journalist, and in 2002 when hunting out a story for her newspaper, she met Henry Zguda, a survivor of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and wrote a piece on him. It was a short piece, at the time just another story among the hundreds that Shawver turned in.But the small glimpse of Henry's tale – or, rather, perhaps, the strong personality of the 85-year-old Polish man, and that of his American wife, had hooked her curiosity, and for the next year, Shawver me Katrina Shawver is a journalist, and in 2002 when hunting out a story for her newspaper, she met Henry Zguda, a survivor of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and wrote a piece on him. It was a short piece, at the time just another story among the hundreds that Shawver turned in.But the small glimpse of Henry's tale – or, rather, perhaps, the strong personality of the 85-year-old Polish man, and that of his American wife, had hooked her curiosity, and for the next year, Shawver met and interviewed Henry twice a week until his passing in 2003.This book is the ultimate result of those interviews, and the many additional hours over the intervening years that Shawver has spent doing her own research: travelling to see Auschwitz as it is preserved today, visiting libraries and archives, and poring over photographs and documents, many of which were written in German and Polish, languages unfamiliar to her.This is not an academic history book, though Shawver's research, which she lays out in detail as she discovers each piece of the jigsaw, makes it seem as though we are discovering the history and stories of the concentration camps together with the author. It's a story of friendships and the life of an ordinary, though remarkable man caught up in extraordinary and horrific times. The focal point is of course Henry's time and place in the war, and his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, but Shawver also sketches in a lot of detail for the reader that helps place Henry in the world as a man first and foremost, as well as a survivor, and she writes much about her friendship with Henry and his wife Nancy, and as she learned more about Poland, she also fills us in on the threads of Polish history up until the second World War. The whole is fascinating, and the personal investment and enthusiasm from Shawver, Henry, and the many people who populate the tale, from the camp prisoners themselves to the curators of the artefacts that played a role in the research for the book – the sheer love of telling a good story, along with the dark black weight of the history that made such a book both possible and necessary, makes it a compelling and strangely beautiful tale of one of the very darkest periods of the twentieth century.It is not a deeply scholarly book, though it contains bright spots of hard-won original research by the author, but rather it is a story of friendships both in and beyond the war and Auschwitz, and a first-hand account, through the eyes of Henry, of what it was like to live day-to-day in the appallingly squalid and cruel, desperate conditions of a concentration camp. Oddly for such a book, dealing as it does with the reality of unremitting death, disease and suffering perpetrated by human being upon human being, the overall effect is of warmth, humanity and unity, thanks largely to Henry's unique storytelling and his broad sense of humanity, and Shawver's journalistic skills.
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  • Katrina Shawver
    January 1, 1970
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