A Polish Doctor In The Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade

byBarbara Rylko-Bauer

Paperback | March 16, 2018

A Polish Doctor In The Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade by Barbara Rylko-Bauer
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Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, known as Jadzia (Yah′-jah), was a young Polish Catholic physician in ?ód? at the start of World War II. Suspected of resistance activities, she was arrested in January 1944. For the next fifteen months, she endured three Nazi concentration camps and a forty-two-day death march, spending part of this time working as a prisoner-doctor to Jewish slave laborers. A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps follows Jadzia from her childhood and medical training, through her wartime experiences, to her struggles to create a new life in the postwar world.

Jadzia''s daughter, anthropologist Barbara Rylko-Bauer, constructs an intimate ethnography that weaves a personal family narrative against a twentieth-century historical backdrop. As Rylko-Bauer travels back in time with her mother, we learn of the particular hardships that female concentration camp prisoners faced. The struggle continued after the war as Jadzia attempted to rebuild her life, first as a refugee doctor in Germany and later as an immigrant to the United States. Like many postwar immigrants, Jadzia had high hopes of making new connections and continuing her career. Unable to surmount personal, economic, and social obstacles to medical licensure, however, she had to settle for work as a nurse''s aide.

As a contribution to accounts of wartime experiences, Jadzia''s story stands out for its sensitivity to the complexities of the Polish memory of war. Built upon both historical research and conversations between mother and daughter, the story combines Jadzia''s voice and Rylko-Bauer''s own journey of rediscovering her family''s past. The result is a powerful narrative about struggle, survival, displacement, and memory, augmenting our understanding of a horrific period in human history and the struggle of Polish immigrants in its aftermath.
Barbara Rylko-Bauer holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University. She has published several books, and her articles have appeared in American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly.
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Title:A Polish Doctor In The Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Re...Format:PaperbackProduct dimensions:416 pages, 9.25 X 6.12 X 0.95 inShipping dimensions:416 pages, 9.25 X 6.12 X 0.95 inPublished:March 16, 2018Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0806151919

ISBN - 13:9780806151915

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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From the Author

Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, known as Jadzia (Yah′-jah), was a young Polish Catholic physician in Lódz at the start of World War II. Suspected of resistance activities, she was arrested in January 1944. For the next fifteen months, she endured three Nazi concentration camps and a forty-two-day death march, spending part of this time working as a prisoner-doctor to Jewish slave laborers. A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps follows Jadzia from her childhood and medical training, through her wartime experiences, to her struggles to create a new life in the postwar world. Jadzia’s daughter, anthropologist Barbara Rylko-Bauer, constructs an intimate ethnography that weaves a personal family narrative against a twentieth-century historical backdrop. As Rylko-Bauer travels back in time with her mother, we learn of the particular hardships that female concentration camp prisoners faced. The struggle continued after the war as Jadzia attempted to rebuild her life, first as a refugee doctor in Germany and later as an immigrant to the United States. Like many postwar immigrants, Jadzia had high hopes of making new connections and continuing her career. Unable to surmount personal, economic, and social obstacles to medical licensure, however, she had to settle for work as a nurse’s aide. As a contribution to accounts of wartime experiences, Jadzia’s story stands out for its sensitivity to the complexities of the Polish memory of war. Built upon both historical research and conversations between mother and daughter, the story combines Jadzia’s voice and Rylko-Bauer’s own journey of rediscovering her family’s past. The result is a powerful narrative about struggle, survival, displacement, and memory, augmenting our understanding of a horrific period in human history and the struggle of Polish immigrants in its aftermath.

Editorial Reviews

"A necessary and important book about a time period already well described but not from this point of view. Rylko-Bauer adds a poignant and often moving annex to Holocaust literature without centering her narrative on that cataclysm. Her mother''s story, while only a sliver of it, encompasses enough horror to give meaning to the much more pervasive devastation of the Jewish community."-Gretchen Schafft, author of From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich