Monday, February 13, 2012


This bibliography is dedicated to all in Poland who suffered so much and fought so hard during WWII:
-- All those Poles (millions) who were killed
-- All those Poles who lived through untold horrors in their towns and cities and in concentration and death and slavery camps both in Germany and the Soviet Union
-- All those Poles who fought so bravely within Poland in the largest resistance group of WWII and those who fought with the Allied forces to free Poland
-- All those Poles who are among the "Righteous Among the Nations"
-- All those Poles who lost their country and found refuge throughout the free world (the Polish diaspora)
                 May the World NEVER Forget

Most of the books below (now over 170 in number) can be found on Amazon or other sites where you can read reviews of the books. Remember you can usually request your local library to get most of these books for you through regional booklending agreements.

This list has been one of the focal points, and a collaborative effort of, the 880 (and growing) members of the Facebook Group "The Way Back -- Unknown Stories of WWII Poland".

We invite you to join us in our Group where other lists, such as lists of related movies, documentaries, youtubes, and other materials can be found.  We also have regular inputs from authors, poets, film makers, and other members including some lively, very interesting debates once in a while.

If you know of other books that you think should be added, let us know.

This list includes some works of historical fiction, but the great majority on the list are nonfiction.

It is time that the full story of WWII Poland become better known outside of Poland.  The story of Poland during WWII is unique.  It can be terribly depressing while at the same time, incredibly inspirational--that any nation any absorb so much death and misery and destruction just 70 years ago and someway get back to the fully functioning and thriving country that Poland now represents.

As more people become aware of the full story, it is hoped that some will take that story to your local book clubs, schools, and universities.

Part of one of the titles on this list (#173) says it all on how the people of Poland reacted to their WWII nightmare:
                        "With Great Bravery and Sacrifice"

1. The Ice Road: An Epic Journey from the Stalinist Labor Camps to Freedom, by Stefan Waydenfeld

2. When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption by Wesley Adamczyk

3. Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944. Richard C. Lukas. Forward by NormanDavies

4. Katyn: Stalin's Massacre and the Triumph of Truth, by Allen Paul

5. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, by Timothy Snyder

6. Waiting to be Heard: The Polish Christian Experience Under Nazi and Stalinist Oppression 1939-1955. Bogusia J.Wojciechowska

7. Stolen Childhood: A Saga of Polish War Children, by Robert Twele and Lucjan Krolikowski

8. The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom , by Slavomir Rawicz

9. The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt: War Through a Woman’s Eyes 1939-1940. Rulka Langer

10. Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father’s Past. Rita Cosby

11. Code Name: Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in WartimeEurope. Irene Tomaszewski, Tecia Werbowski

12. The Officer’s Daughter ,by Zina Rohan

13. 303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron

14. A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True, by Brigid Pasulka

15. The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story, by Diane Ackerman

16. Inside a Gestapo Prison: The Letters of Krystyna Wituska, 1942-1944. Translated and edited by Irene Tomaszewski(note: Wituska was executed by the Gestapo in her early twenties)

17. A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud

18. World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West, by Laurence Rees

19. My Dear Mr. Stalin: The Complete Correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph V. Stalin by Susan Butler

20. Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945, by M.B.B. Biskupski

21. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (Penguin Classics) , by Tadeusz Borowski. Edited by BarbaraVedder(Editor, Translator), Michael Kandel (Translator), Jan Kott (Introduction)

22. I Saw Poland Betrayed: An American ambassador reports to the American people (The Americanist library) by Arthur Bliss Lane

23. No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in World War II, by Kenneth K. Koskodan

24. Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century. Paul Kengor

25. Books by NORMAN DAVIES: Europe at War 1939-1945 Europe: A History; Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw; White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War 1919-20; God’s Playground: A History of Poland (Volume I &26. Volume II); Heart of Europe: A Short History of Poland; No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945

27. Stalin and the Poles; An Indictment of the Soviet Leaders, by Bronislaw Kusnierz

28. The Rape of Poland, Pattern of Soviet Aggression. Whittley House, 1948, 309 pages H/B Stanislaw Mikolajczyk

29. An Army in Exile—the Story of the Second Polish Corps, by Lt. General W. Anders

30. Poland Betrayed: The Nazi-Soviet Invasions of 1939 (Campaign Chronicles) by David Williamson

31. Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe by Adam Zomoyski

32. Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II, by Tadeusz Piotrowski

33. Other books by Tadeusz Piotrowski

34. Story of a Secret State. Jan Karski

35. Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust. E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw M. Jankowski

36. Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust by Anna Mieszkowska

37. Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War

38. Maps and Shadows, by Krysia Jopek

39. Escaping Danger by Dorothy Dubel

40. Tell The West, Jerzy G Gliksman, 1948

41. The Ghosts of Europe by Anna Porter

42. The Polish Officer, by Alan Furst

43. Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier

44. The Black Devils’ March - a Doomed Odyssey: The 1st Polish Armoured Division 1939-45 by Evan McGilvray

45. Lightning and Ashes by John Guzlowski (Poems about his Polish Catholic parents who were taken as slave laborers toNazi Germany)

46. As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me by Josef Bauer

47. Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture by Danusha Goska

48. The Lion and the Eagle: Polish Second World War Veterans in Scotland (Voice of war series) by Diana M. Henderson

49. Victims of Stalin and Hitler: The Exodus of Poles and Balts to Britain , by Thomas Lane

50. Man Is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag. Janusz Bardach, Kathleen Gleeson. Foreward: Adam Hochschild

51. Dragon In My Pocket, by Denise Coughlin. Bill Kastan (Illustrator)

52. Lost Between Worlds: A World War II Journey of Survival, by Edward H. Herzbaum

53. By Parachute to Warsaw, by Marek Celt

54. Memoir of Stanisław Jaskólski—Victim and Witness to German Death Camp during WWII

55. Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

56. Polish Civilians Killed in World War II: Janusz Korczak, Rutka Laskier, 108 Martyrs of World War Two, Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Meir Balaban. Books LLC (Editor)

57. Soldiers Of Evil—The Commandants of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Tom Segev

58. Andrzej Pityński Sculpture. Anna Chudzik (Editor), Andrzej K. Olszewski, Irena Grzesiuk-Olszewska (Introduction)

59. The Samaritans: Heroes of the Holocaust Władysław Bartoszewski and Zofia Lewin

60. Witold’s Report (Episodes from Auschwitz)

61. Et Papa tacet: the genocide of Polish Catholics: An article from: Commonweal [HTML Digital]

62. War Through Children’s Eyes

63. The Polish Army, 1939-45 (Men-at-arms).

64. First to Fight: Poland’s Contribution to the Allied Victory in WWII

65. The Forgotten Few: The Polish Airforce in WWII by Adam Zamoyski

66. Poland 1939: The Birth of Blitzkrieg

67. The Polish Campaign 1939

68. Polish Resistance in WWII Collection of essays, articles, links, and an excellent reading list of dozens of books too numerous to list here

69. Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-194, by Dr. Gunnar S. Paulsson

70. The Mass Deportation of Poles to Siberia: A Historical Narrative Based on the Written Testimony of the Polish Siberian Survivors by Michael Carolan

71. Polish Poetry from the Soviet Gulags: Recovering a Lost Literature. Halina Ablamowicz

72. Legacy of the White Eagle; Includes a CD, by Julian Kulski

73. Exiled to Siberia, by Klaus Hergt

74. Children of the Katyń Massacre: Accounts of Life After the 1940 Soviet Murder of Polish POWs [Abridged]. TeresaKaczorowska

75. Out of the Cross by Rev. Charles Jan Di Mascola This book is about the 108 members of the Polish Catholic clergy designated as WWII martyrs.

76. The Civilian Population and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, by Joanna K. M. Hanson

77. Your Life Is Worth Mine: How Polish Nuns Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children in German-Occupied Poland, 1939-1945, by Ewa Kurek

78. Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero by Aileen Orr

79. Enigma: How the Poles Broke the Nazi Code (Polish Histories). Władysław Kozaczuk and Jerzy Straszak

80. The report of the Anglo-Polish Historical Committee: Intelligence co-operation between Poland and Great Britain during World War II

81. Fighting Warsaw: The Story of the Polish Underground State 1939-1945 by Stefan Korboński

82. The Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom, by Andrzej Paczkowski

83. Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II, by Douglas W. Jacobson

84. A World Apart: Imprisonment in a Soviet Labor Camp During World War II

85. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer (9780553494112) by Irene Opdyke

86. DPs: Europe’s Displaced Persons, 1945-1951 and Round-Trip to America, both by Mark Wyman

87. The Invited: the story of 733 Polish children who grew up in New Zealand by Krystyna Skwarko, Millwood Press, Wellington, c1974 (Lists child immigrants.)

88. Forsaken Journeys: the “Polish” experience and identity of the “Pahiatua children” in New Zealand by TheresaSawicka-Brockie (PhD thesis, University of Auckland, 1987)

89. Polish Orphans of Tengeru: The Dramatic Story of Their Long Journey to Canada 1941-49, by Lynne Taylor

90. Valedictory. W. S Kuniczak (Novel about Polish fighter pilot in WWII)

91. Pages Torn From My Youth by Kazimierz Karlsbad “Radek” in 1997

92. Stasia- the child’s odyssey (memoirs by Kazimierz (Kazik) Karlsbad)

93. One Woman’s War against the Nazis (book by Karolina Lanckoronska)

94. From the Steppes to the Savannah , by Barbara Porajska

95. Polish diaspora in Barcelona

96. The Horror Trains

97. Stalin’s Genocides (Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity) Norman M. Naimark

98. Footsteps in the Snow—a true story of one family’s journey out of Siberia, written by Roma King (Michniewicz)

99. Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland (Oxford Studies in Modern European History) , by Catherine Epstein

100. Children of Terror by Inge Auerbacher and Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride

101. Building the Barricade and Other Poems by Anna Swir

102. World War II Through Polish Eyes by M.B. Szonert

103. Leaving Terror Behind by Mike Linder

104. Null and Void. Poland: Case Study on Comparative Imperialism by M.B. Szonert

105. Common Boundary

106. The Soviet Takeover of the Polish Eastern Provinces, 1939-41 by Keith Sword

107. Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust by Gay Block and Malka Drucker

108. The Long Bridge: Out of the Gulags by Urszula Musku

109. Karski, by Andrzej Żbikowski

110. Yalta, the Price of Peace, by S.M. Plokhy

111. The Katyń Order: A Novel by Douglas W. Jacobson

112. White Field, Black Sheep: A Lithuanian American Life, by Daiva Markelis

113. The Invention of Poetry, by Adam Czerniawsky

114. A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising, by Miron Bialoszewski

115. Combat: Good and Evil in World War II, by Michael Burleigh

116. [Topic: Cold War] A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country,by Benjamin Weiser

117. From an Oak Tree by Frank J. Jasinski

118. Recovered Land by Alicia Nitecki

119. Stara Gwardia (The Old Guard) by Mieczysław Lurczyński

120. Gulag Voices, edited by Anne Applebaum

121. Memoir of a Gulag Actress

122. Children of the Gulag

123. The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin

124. Gulag Boss by Fyodor Mochulsky

125. The Gulag Archipelago by A. Solzhenitsyn

126. Kolyma Tales by V. Shalamov

127. Journey Into the Whirlwind by E. Ginzburg

128. My Testimony by A. Marchenko

129. Faithful Russian by G. Vladimov

130. Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World by Jan Karski

131. The Women Debrowska by Leigh Podgorski (novel)

132. The Forest of Souls by Carla Banks (novel)

133. Andrew Bienkowski: One life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others

134. The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia, by Tim Tzouliadis

135. The Dark Side of the Moon: The Incredible Story of What Really Happened in Poland During the Russian Occupation 1939-45 (New York: Scribner's, 1947) by Zoe Zajdlerowa

136. Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyń Forest Massacre, by Janusz Kazimierz Zawodny

137. Exiled to Siberia: A Polish Childs WWII Journey, by Tadeusz Piotrowski

138. Journey from Innocence (East European Monographs), by Anna R. Dadlez

139. Secret Army, by T. Bor Komorowski

140. War in the Shadow of Auschwitz: Memoirs of a Polish Resistance Fighter and Survivor of the Death Camps (Religion,Theology & the Holocaust) (Religion, Theology and the Holocaust), by John Wiernicki

141. Destroy Warsaw! Hitler's Punishment, Stalin's Revenge by Andrew Borowiec

142. The Great Powers and Poland 1919-1945: From Versailles to Yalta by Jan Karski

143. The Establishment of Communist Rule in Poland, 1943-1948 (Society and Culture in East-Central Europe)

144. Stalinism in Poland, 1944-1956: Selected Papers from the Fifth World Congress of Central and East European Studies,
Warsaw 1995), by A. Kemp-Welch

145. Them: Stalin's Polish Puppets, by Teresa Toranska

146. Oflag IIC

147. Katyń: A Crime Without Punishment (Annals of Communism Series) by Anna M. Cienciala, Natalia S. Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski (Jan 28, 2008)

148. Come With Me and Visit Hell (Kindle Edition). Stanisław Jaskolski (Author) and Jim Przedzienkowski (Translator)

149. The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland

150. Radical Gratitude and other life lessons learned in Siberia, by Andrew Bienkowski and Mary Akers

151. Passage from England -- A Memoir, by Frank Zajaczkowski

152. Soviet Occupation in Central Europe and the Destruction of Civil Society, by Anne Applebaum

153. To Sup with the Devil

154. Exile and Identity, by Katherine Jolluck

155. Two Trains from Poland: A Journey in History and of the Human Spirit, by Krystyna M. Sklenarz

156. The Polish Army, by Steven J. Zaloga

157. Courier from Warsaw Jan Nowak (Author) Zbigniew Brzezinski (Foreword)

158. The Inhuman Land by Joseph Czapski

159. Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology and, Atrocity" by Alexander B. Rossino

160. The Polish American Enclyclopedia by James S. Pula, of the The Polish American Historical Association

161. Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power" by Andrew Nagorski

162. Inferno of Choices, Poles and the Holocaust edited by Sebastian Rejak and Elzbieta Frister, Oficyna Wydawnnicza RYTM, Warsaw 2011
(complete book available on line throught the following link:

163. Finding Poland by Matthew Kelly, published August, 2011

164.  Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold, Studies on the Fate of Wartime Poles and Jews, Edited by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski, and Pawel Styrna, 2012

165.  Holocaust Forgotten - Five Million Non-Jewish Victims, by Terese Pencak Schwartz, 2012

166.  Smoke over Birkenau. by Liana Millu (translated by novelist Lynne Sharon Schwarts), 1991

167.  Stoker:  The Story of an Australian Soldier Who Survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, By Donald Watt, 1998

168.  Noble Youth - Adventures of Fourteen Siblings Growing Up on a Polish Estate, by Teresa Bisping Gniewosz, with Christopher Gniewoszy, 2001

169.  Noble Flight - A Family's Exodus and Survival During World War II, by Teresa Bisping Gniewosz, with Christopher Gniewoszy, 2007

170.  The Auschwitz Volunteer:  Beyond Bravery, Captain Witold Pilecki, translated by Jarek Garlinski,  2012

171.  Rotamaster Witold Pilecki 1901 - 1948, by Jacek Pawlowicz, 2009

172.  Forgotten Survivors. Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation, edited by Richard Lukas, 2004

173.  With Great Sacrifice and Bravery:  The Career of Polish Ace Waclaw Lapkowski, by Glenn A. Knoblock, 2012

174.  The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy, translation by Henry Tilles, 1987

175.  Righteous Among Nations:  How Poles Helped the Jews, 1939 - 1945, by Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Zofia Lewin, 1960

176.  The Samaritans:  Heroes of the Holocaust, by Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Zofia Lewin, 1966

177.  The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations:  Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, Volume II, by Sara Bender and Shmuel Krakowski, eds., 2004

178.  Without Vodka:  Adventures in Wartime Russia, by Aleksander Topolski, 2001  (will be followed by Without A Roof:  WAR--A Polish Soldier's Adventures in the Middle East and Italy During World War II,  in September, 2012,by Rebis publishers in Poznan, in Polish as Bez Dachu.)

179.  Kaia Heroine of the 1944 Warsaw Rising, by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, 2012.

180.  The Eagle Unbowed, Poland and the Poles in the Second World War, by Halik Kochanski, 2012

181.  Iron Curtain:  The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-56, by Anne Applebaum, 2012

182.  Danuta: A novel based on the life of Danuta Buczak, by John Koenig, 2013

183.  For There Is Hope, (poems) by Martin Stepek, 2012

184.  Poland In The Second World War, by Josef Garlinski, 1987

185.  Two Years in a Gulag:  The True Wartime Story of a Polish Peasant Exiled to Siberia, by Frank Pleszak, 2013

186.  Poland's Daughter: How I Met Basia, Hitchhiked to Italy, and Learned About Love, War, and Exile, by Daniel Ford, 2013

187.   23 Days -- A Memoir of 1939, by Antoni Joe Podolski  (Author), Jeremy Podolski  (Editor, Producer), 2014

188.  Memory is our Home: Loss and Remembering: Three Generations in Poland and Russia 1917-1960s, by Suzanna Eibuszyc, 2014

189.  Grace Revealed: a memoir, by Greg Archer, 2015


© 2012 William H. Szych All Rights Reserved    


  1. Great List! A big Thank you for putting it together!
    If it is not on alist, please add: Forgotten Holocaust. The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944 by Richard Lukas
    and: Forgotten Survivors. Polish Christians Remember the Nazi occupation - edited by Richard Lukas

  2. Thank you, Anthony, Dan, and Halina for your comments and suggestions. Your suggested books have been added. Thanks again.

  3. Krystyna Court-KowalskiAugust 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Thank you for compiling this comprehensive list- essential reading for all who seek to connect with their own family's experiences during that turbulent time.

    1. Thanks Krystna. It is good to know that the list is getting a little more "publicity". It has been a collaborative effort from the start with many suggestions along the way. I hope to soon put together a presentation and start taking it to local schools on what I have discovered in reading many (not all) of these books.

  4. Excellent list William. Thanks for compiling it sir.

    -David Waligora

  5. It is indeed an excellent list. It would be even better if you included "Without Vodka: Adventures in Wartime Russia" by Aleksander Topolski, 2001. It was published in Poland last September (2011) as "Biez Wodki" and won an honour award from the prestigious Rachynski Library. In September (2012) Rebis publishers in Poznan will publish the sequel: "Without A Roof: WAR-- A Polish soldier's adventures in the Middle East and Italy during World War II" in Polish as "Bez Dachu". You will learn more about Topolski's experiences in Soviet prisons and the Gulag at
    -- Joan Eddis-Topolski

    1. Correction: website address is

    2. Thanks Joan....your suggested titles have been added. I'll also try to remember to add the web site to the list we keep on our facebook group "The Way Back -- Unknown Stories of WWII Poland" . Congratulations on the award from the Rachynski Library!

  6. A great list! It's a good idea that each of us request these books at our local libraries - if not already available. The more these books circulate - the more our history will not be forgotten.

  7. 179. Kaia, Heroine of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, by Alexandra Ziolokowska-Bochm, 2012

    Please correct spelling. It should be:

    Kaia Heroine of the 1944 Warsaw Rising, by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, 2012

  8. There is no mention of the Polish Jewish men who, when they were allowed to do so - while exiled in Russia - formed the Wanda Wasilewska Brigade. They fought valiantly under the command of General Rokossovski, and with great sacrifice, contributed to the rout of the German forces. My father, O"H, Leon (Leybush) Krakowski (1915 - 1996), a tailor from Lodz, held the rank of Plutovny in this Brigade.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Correction to previous post:
    Marshall Rokossovskij

    Thank you for this site.


  11. Excellent selection of books - many thanks!

  12. Please add to the list 3 more books:
    *Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: The Polish Experience through World War II. A Better Day Has not Come, 2015;
    *Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: Polish Hero Roman Rodziewicz Fate of a Hubal Soldier in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Postwar England, 2017;
    *Lynne Olson, Last Hope Island, 2017.

  13. Sophie Hodorowicz KnabMarch 14, 2018 at 7:06 PM

    Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany 1939-1945. Hippocrene Books 2016