A Memoir of Survival and Captivity in Wartime Poland
Tom Firth begins his extraordinary memoir by describing his unusual childhood in Japan and the devastating Yokohama earthquake in 1923. In 1930 the family settled in his mothers native Poland only to split up when Poland was overrun by the Nazis and the Russians in 1939. Whilst his father and older brother were in England, Tom found himself trapped in the Russian zone and eventually made his way to Warsaw where his mother had survived the bombing of the city.He vividly describes life under both regimes, as well as the cat-and-mouse game his mother was forced to play with the Gestapo in order to avoid arrest. Later, both became deeply involved with the sheltering of escaped British prisoners of war and this led to his capture, interrogation and imprisonment in Krakow jail before beingmiraculously released after eighteen months. After many harrowing experiences he got through to the Red Army only toe be imprisoned again. Held for several months in primitive conditions, he was finally handed over to the British Military Mission in Moscow.He arrived in Britain for the first time as a supply convoy in late 1944. He describes the search for his lost father and brother. Even when re-united, tragedy struck with his mothers arrest by the Polish Communists. Sentenced to death for alleged espionage, she spent several years in prison, being freed in a Government amnesty and arriving in England in 1956.
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