Walking across Russia
This week's selection is a book that will make you glad to be you, and glad to be wherever the hell you are right now. It's called The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
, by Slavomir Rawicz. It's a true story, and here it is in a nutshell:
A Polish Army officer, the author Rawicz, is captured and then tortured in the Soviet prison system and sent to the Gulags. Faced with misery in Siberia and probable death, he and a band of others escape and undertake a two thousand-mile long journey from the snows of Siberia through Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, and across the Himalayas toward British India and freedom.
It reminds me of a story my mother told me about her Uncle.
He was in the German army, at the Siege Of Leningrad.
Things weren't going well and it became clear that he was very likely to end up either dead or in a Soviet POW camp. He became separated from his unit (which is a euphemism for going over the hill).
He went down through Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland (where he had a foot amputated because of frostbite), until he reached Italy and was able to surrender to US troops. He spent the rest of the war in a US POW camp in Arizona.
Since he spent the rest of his life after the war on a German military disability pension he never really talked alot about the details (the "separated for his unit" part was kind of a sticky point). But I always thought it made an interesting story.
Labels: War Story