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January 25 , 2009

The Last Train to Dachau


The Last Train to Dachau is based on the real life plight of the Miller family during World War II. With the invasion of Poland by the Germans, the story follows the family and their experiences of: the occupation, hunger, cold, and the terror in their home town. This family of five was Polish Catholic, but had a German-like surname. This situation placed them between the Germans, who wanted them to sign a loyalty declaration, which they refused, and the community which assumed that they had. The story tells of the horrors and obstacles that they faced and had to overcome to stay together and live.

Emilia, Alicia and Leszek are children that spend most of their youth surviving both the physical and emotional stresses of war. Wladyslawa, the mother, is a worker in a Red Cross shelter during the day, but often had to travel at night to find black market food for her family. Wiktor, the father, was conscripted to a labor train after the surrender of Warsaw. He worked under threat of great harm to his family while forced to travel and repair damaged trains and tracks across Poland and Germany. His travels and experiences on a recovery and repair crew gave him an avenue to stay alive while still resisting his oppressors.

The intensity of the story increases as the Millers face the brutality of their captors who desperately try to accomplish their “final solution” for all Poles in the closing days of the war. The reader will find it hard to put the book down as the Millers face their fate.


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