An Absorbing Local Indie Read

polish doctorKDL’s Local Indie collection highlights independently published works by local authors & artists. It’s a great way to discover new writers, musicians & filmmakers right in your own back yard.

I recently read A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother’s Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade by Barbara Rylko-Bauer.  It is the true story of a young Polish Roman Catholic doctor, Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, known as Jadzia, arrested by the Nazis in January 1944. She was detained as a suspected member of the resistance, though her only crime was listening to the news on the radio.

Written by Jadzia’s daughter, the book tells of her fifteen months in concentration camps, ending with a forty-two day death march. During part of her time as a prisoner, she doctored the Jewish laborers in the camps. After being liberated, Jadzia attempted to return to life as a doctor, first in Germany and later in the United States. Reading a non-Jewish account of imprisonment was compelling, though the narrative of Jadzia’s childhood, education, marriage and later life is as interesting as reading about her time in the concentration camps, especially her reactions to various things her daughter asks her in interviews for the book.

Bonus: Rylko-Bauer will be speaking about her book at KDL’s East Grand Rapids branch on October 7 at 7:00 PM.

Currently the Local Indie collection is housed at the Cascade Township and Kentwood Branches, but all of the items may be borrowed system-wide. Try it — you’ll like it!


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Written by Susan


Susan is the Youth Services Specialist at the Plainfield Branch. She loves mysteries, children’s chapter books, and teen fiction. When she’s not doing storytime, she can be found bicycling, scrapbooking, or enjoying her husband, children, and spoiled Jack Russell terror…er, terrier.

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