The Labyrinth of Dangerous Hours: A Memoir of the Second World War
Published: July 2018© 2004
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 196 Pages
Dimensions: 5.90 x 9.00
196 Pages, 5.90 x 9.00 x 0.60 in
Lilka Trzcinska was fourteen years old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. The daughter of an architect, Lilka was a high school student at the time. When schools were closed by the occupier, she, along with her siblings, continued their education in secret classes, and joined the Polish Home Army (the secret resistance force).
Lilka and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and sent to the political prison Pawiak, then to Auschwitz. There, Lilka's mother died and her younger sister was sent off to another camp. The rest of the family was put to work in the camp building offices. After being transported to a number of different camps, the three sisters were reunited in 1945, and shortly thereafter liberated by the British. Lilka later went to Italy to continue her education, moving to Canada in 1948.
The Labyrinth of Dangerous Hours is the memoir of a survivor. Lilka Trzcinska-Croydon narrates her adolescence and that of her sisters and brother in a way that binds poetry and history together seamlessly. It describes the strength of the family ties and solidarity that helped them emerge from their horrific ordeal with their dignity intact.
As many as 150,000 Polish political prisoners were taken during the war, half of whom died in the camps. This memoir is a testament to their struggle.
GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION
Part I: Fighting Poland (September 1939-May 1943)
1 Dies Irae
2 Gone with the Wind
Part II: Auschwitz (May 1943-January 1945)
5 Nos. 44786-9
6 No Lilies for Mother
7 Gifts and Secrets
8 A Legacy of Herbs
9 High Fever
10 Designing a Dream House
Part III: From Winter to Spring (January-April 1945)
12 Walking to Breslau
Part IV: The Taste of Freedom (April 1945-June 1946)
14 My Egg of Resurrection
15 Concert for Survivors
16 Capriccio Italiano
"The Labyrinth of Dangerous Hours is a true page-turner. Lilka Trzcinska-Croydon’s ability to see Auschwitz from a woman’s point of view, with a woman’s eye for detail, makes this work original and attractive. Another winning feature is her ability to infuse serenity, optimism, and friendliness into a survivor’s story. This is a tale about the horrors of Auschwitz, but it does not leave a bitter taste, and does not make one doubt the humanness of humanity."Ewa Thompson, Research Professor of Slavic Studies and former Chairperson of the Department of German and Slavic Studies, Rice University