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Bridging the Gap Ralph Smorczewski

Bridging the Gap

Ralph Smorczewski

Published December 17th 2007
ISBN : 9781906221331
Hardcover
344 pages
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 About the Book 

An idyllic, carefree life lived from childhood through to late teenage years in the depths of the pre-war Polish countryside on the familys large estates. This autobiography gives a glimpse into family life and the routine activities, interspersedMoreAn idyllic, carefree life lived from childhood through to late teenage years in the depths of the pre-war Polish countryside on the familys large estates. This autobiography gives a glimpse into family life and the routine activities, interspersed with occasional unexpected events, and images of people that played an important part in moulding the authors character. But war days starts with the bombing of the railway line, followed by the arrival of the German troops, and a simultaneous influx of refugees escaping the advances of both the German and Soviet occupying powers. Later chapters describe the completion of the authors education on clandestine courses (for Poles, education beyond primary school was forbidden and carried the death penalty), enlisting in the Polish Home Army and completion of clandestine officers school. Military activities included disarming German soldiers billeted on the family, a week spent at the concentration camp Majdanek collecting the prisoners released by the SS, fighting in the Warsaw uprising, which resulted in severe concussion, followed by three weeks in a Gestapo death cell, and finally serving with large units of the Home Army. The author also describes the familys reunion, the miraculous escape from Krakow before the arrival of the Soviets, first to Vienna and then to a friends home in Styria. From Styria another escape leads the family over the Alps on two horse-drawn carriages through snow blizzards and continuous bombardment. The author finally joined the Polish 2nd Corps, British 8th Army in Italy, and completed artillery officers school in Matera, before being transported to England. In the final part of the book, the authordescribes his first steps in England, followed by five years of architectural studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. After a number of years of temporary jobs, he became an Associate Partner in a small architectural firm that expanded rapidly. In 1972 he started his own practice and undertook some interesting projects, including the conversion of newly completed flats in Monte Carlo. He retired in 1992.