Surviving War, Oceans Apart

Two Teenagers in Poland and Japan Destined for Life Together


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About the Book

This work takes readers to two countries ravaged by World War II, Poland and Japan, recounting the wartime experiences of teenagers Bogdan and Seiko. Bogdan’s family abandoned its home in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and fled to Warsaw, where Bogdan fought for the Polish Home Army in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. During this brutal conflict, as Poles tried to oust occupying Germans, Bogdan sustained severe injuries, and after the Germans crushed the Uprising, he endured seven POW camps. On the other side of the globe, in Hokkaido, Japan, Seiko’s country went to war against the U.S. With school suspended, Seiko worked in a wartime factory. Her older sister died during the war, while her older brother trained as a kamikaze pilot. Once the war ended, both Bogdan and Seiko immigrated to the U.S. to pursue educational opportunities. In bustling postwar New York City, they met, fell in love, and then started a family. Bogdan and Seiko’s story is one of hope, symbolizing recovery from war’s devastation and immigrants’ dreams of new lives in America.

About the Author(s)

Yanek Mieczkowski is the author of three previous books, has worked as a writing fellow for Oxford University Press and has written more than 40 biographies for The American National Biography. He was a professor and history department chair at Dowling College until its 2016 closure. He now teaches at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

Bibliographic Details

Yanek Mieczkowski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9210-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5289-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1

Part I—War Begins
1. Bydgoszcz, Poland—Living and Leaving 7
2. Otaru, Japan—A Good Life by the Sea 25

Part II—War Devastates
3. Warsaw at War 43
4. War in a Japanese City 66
5. Uprising! 78
6. “That morning devastated us” 91
7. Death Hits Home 98
8. Doing Something Strange with Seaweed 112

Part III—Determined to Bounce Back
9. From Soldier to Prisoner 127
10. The Tough Transition 148
11. New Goals, New Country 162
12. Clashing Countries to Clashing Cultures 178

Conclusion: The War Never Left Them 191
Sources for Further Reading 205
Index 207