the early Russian Communists were committed to the Marxist conviction that 'the workers of the world' were brutally oppressed by the upper classes. Eventually even the local baker and shoemaker, who were eking out a living, were suspect in the eyes of the Communists; whoever did not toil for the state was perceived to be an 'oppressor' and an 'enemy of the people.' Intoxicated by this principle, the Russian Communists attempted to eradicate their 'class enemies' in the hopes of creating a paradise for the downtrodden workers." The propaganda and omissions for political expediency, power, and stability that this book reveals force us to face the fact that humanity has not learned from past experience.
Very little is known about the horrors endured by Poles who found themselves under Soviet rule.
This book is a first person account of Wiesaw Adamczyk and his familys struggle to survive their deportation to the Soviet Union which finally gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism. The nature of this first person narrative brings a vivid reality to learning survival in the workers paradise, where collective farmers are forced to steal slop from pigs, and people lack the basic necessities of life like food. Because the family was prosperous, it defined them in Soviet eyes as enemies of the people; their bank accounts were seized and they were designated by the NKVD for expulsion to the Soviet Union. Wiesaws mother, like others, had baked bread in which she hid family jewelry and had sewn gold coins and jewelry into the lining and hems of clothing. When the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany, in June 1941, Polish POWs were released from prison camps and set up an army headed by General Wadysaw Anders my godfather. Like my own grandparents, Wiesaw's mother, although having survived the privations of her exile, died of the terrible effects of these privations and died. He has survived to see the Katyn massacres finally exposed as being perpetuated by the Soviets and he lays a marker at the place of his fathers murder. My fathers family was exiled to the Soviet paradise in 1939 as well and this story could have been theirs.
I found the Adamczyk family's journey fascinating but the writing was unsatisfactory.
When God Looked the Other Way is a beautifully written autobiography that helps give the reader the insight of the conditions in which the Polish people faced under the control of the Soviet Union. This story is all told through the eyes of young Wesley, while at the age of 10 should be at school and at home in Poland with his family and friends, but is actually struggling to survive and trying to understand why God looked the other way.
How his middle aged widowed mother with very poor Russian skills and little means of survival supposedly managed to outsmart Soviets repeatedly and lead her underage malnourished children on an incredibly long treacherous journey through the steppes of Central Asia. However Mr.Adamczyk did not have any education because his mother was too proud to allow him to be educated in free Soviet state schools, could only speak Polish unable to read or write any language, and was too coddled to have any street smarts. While it cannot be disputed that both of Mr. Adamczyk's parents died during the war and his family was shipped off to Siberia, everything else is dubious at best and reads much like an adventure novel.
The writing style did not detract from the contents - on the other hand, Adamczyk told the story masterfully. This is one of the best memoirs that I have ever read.
The was the amazing and well written story of a Polish boy and his family deported to the USSR during WWII as told through the eyes of the boy who went through it.
In 1940, Wesley Adamczyk was deported at age 7 from his native Poland to Siberia with his family.