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The Polski Affair by Leon H Gildin
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's review
Dec 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011

The Pol­ski Affair by Leon H. Gildin is an award win­ning, fic­tional book about a very weird and bizarre his­tor­i­cal occur­rence dur­ing World War II. The book is the story of one fam­ily of Holo­caust sur­vivors, takes place in present day Israel and Poland as well as through flashbacks.

Rosa Feur­mann found her­self in the Hotel Pol­ski in Nazi Occu­pied War­saw as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion of Jew­ish par­ti­sans as to exactly what is going on in there. Rumors were afloat that rich Jews were able to buy their way to free­dom using false doc­u­ments. How­ever, Rosa is detected by the Gestapo Colonel in charge of the hotel and becomes his per­sonal servant.

Years later Rosa, now liv­ing under her new iden­tity in Israel, is called to be a wit­ness to the Commandant’s war crimes trial which causes her to relive her mem­o­ries and rec­on­cile her own conflicts.

The Pol­ski Affair by Leon H. Gildin is a grip­ping, bizarre read and an emo­tion­ally provoca­tive book. I have read many books about World War II, heard many strange sto­ries but this one is one of the stranger ones, the fact that it actu­ally hap­pened bog­gles my mind.

I have never heard of The Hotel Pol­ski and the bizarre scheme the Nazis were run­ning there. The more I read about the whole issue, the more bizarre it became. Basi­cally the Gestapo used the hotel to house Jews who had exit visas from Poldand. But, the visas of dead Jews were sold to ones who man­aged to escape the roundups and hide in the Aryan side of Warsaw.

After the Jews came out of hid­ing, the Gestapo col­lected the money but many of the peo­ple were sent to their deaths. What makes the issue even strangers is that many of the visas were for South Amer­i­can coun­tries which would have refused to rec­og­nize the pass­ports anyway.

The char­ac­ters are well writ­ten and the story moves along in a fast pace. There is many aspects to this book, promises bro­ken, betrayal, heart­break and sev­eral enlight­en­ing and happy moments. A page turner and a great pick for a book club.

Disclaimer: I got this book for free.

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