A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II
By Krystyna Mihulka, By Krystyna Poray Goddu


192 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $17.99 (CA $23.99) (US $17.99)

ISBN 9781613734414

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jan 2017)


eBook Editions Available

Will it work on my eReader?
Price: $17.99
Google Preview
Media Copy


Few people are aware that in the aftermath of German and Soviet invasions and division of Poland, more than 1.5 million people were deported from their homes in Eastern Poland to remote parts of Russia. Half of them died in labor camps and prisons or simply vanished, some were drafted into the Russian army, and a small number returned to Poland after the war. Those who made it out of Russia alive were lucky—and nine-year-old Krystyna Mihulka was among them. In this childhood memoir, Mihulka tells of her family’s deportation, under cover of darkness and at gunpoint, and their life as prisoners on a Soviet communal farm in Kazakhstan, where they endured starvation and illness and witnessed death for more than two years. This untold history is revealed through the eyes of a young girl struggling to survive and to understand the increasingly harsh world in which she finds herself.


Exquisitely detailed, Krystyna Mihulka’s Krysia proves in clear and accessible prose that even such malevolent forces as Stalinism and Nazism were rendered powerless in the face of the most basic human order — a loving family. —Eugene Yelchin, author of Breaking Stalin’s Nose

“Elegant, eye-opening, and memorable.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“This memoir has power and does the necessary work of prompting readers to try to imagine what it’s like to be among the millions of children undergoing similar upheavals in the war zones of today.” —Booklist

“The text is exceptionally educational, offering language help, maps, and photographs to fill in the details of Krysia’s harrowing tale. Still, despite the tragedy, Krysia’s story is also one of hope, making it a distinctively interesting and useful nonfiction text for young adult readers.” — VOYA

“The child’s voice offers a heart-wrenching perspective on the evils inflicted by Nazism and Stalinism along with the suffering the family endured…” —The Buffalo News Online

“It’s an affecting personal story, vividly told…” —Wall Street Journal

Author Biography

Born in 1930, Krystyna Mihulka was deported from Poland to Kazakhstan in 1940, where she lived as a political prisoner under Communist rule for nearly two years. After several years in refugee camps in Iran and Africa, she settled in Zambia, where she married and had three children. In 1969 she and her family migrated to the United States. She lives in Pleasant Hill, California, under her married name, Christine Tomerson. Krystyna Poray Goddu is the author of A Girl Called Vincent and Dollmakers and Their Stories. She has contributed to American Girl magazine, the New York Times Book ReviewPublishers Weekly, and other publications. She lives in New York City.