“The Polish Woman”, a portrait of Hitler’s atrocities of communism

This content was published on September 25, 2022 – 2:49 pm

Gustavo Borges

Mexico, September 25 (EFE).- In her new novel “The Polish Girl”, Mexican writer Mónica Rojas paints in words a portrait of the evil of Russian Communism in World War II, with as perverse a treatment of the people of Poland as Hitler treated the Jews .

“The historical focus is on the Nazis and on the brutality of the Holocaust, but if we shift our eyes, we will see that Stalin’s intervention to stop Hitler had a terrible, unspoken human cost,” he assured the author in an interview with Efe, originally from Puebla.

From a Polish family, with a girl as the narrator, the book tells the story of the Bolshevik occupation of the Polish town of Komarno, whose inhabitants are deported to forced labor camps in Siberia for the sole crime of their origins.

The 270-page volume, published by the Grijalbo label, condemns, based on more than 100 testimonies collected by the writer, the dehumanization of Russians in the Gulag (labor camp), where Poles were treated like animals and considered human, inferior, the way Hitler did with the Jews.

“It’s a bad balance, there’s a part of the book that illustrates this: the Jews were waiting for the Russians to come and the Poles for the Germans. The lines between good and bad are blurring, and that’s what’s happened throughout history,” he says.


Although Rojas’ book tells a tough story based on real events, in it the main characters approach love and beauty in the most hopeless conditions. Thanks to this, many survive hunger, loss and pain.

Anya, a girl who becomes a teenager in the course of the play, clings to the memory of Chezlav, her first love, and already in Stalin’s concentration camps she meets the old Olga, who writes poems and tells optimistic stories when all seems lost.

“I wanted to pay tribute to those who died or survived the atrocities in the Gulag. Through fiction one has more resources to write about the beautiful, with it old Olga can write poetry,” he explained.

A journalist, doctoral candidate in Latin American literature at the University of Zurich, and children’s rights activist, Rojas came across the novel’s story during a visit to León, Guanajuato, the final destination of some of the war emigrants who formed the site “Little Poland in Mexico”.

“The story came to me. In Leon, I met the first people who told me about their stay in the gulag. The starting point was a 92-year-old woman who is still among us, then I gathered information in Leon and Warsaw. The more than 100 testimonies were the pieces of the puzzle with which I built the novel,” he admits.

As in the present times, when ideologies fail and the desire for power and the selfishness of the rulers prevail, in the book the powerful crush and justify their mockeries with messianic speeches.

“All of this is sustained by discourses of power and identities constructed with interest-based histories. One would like to believe that what happened in other times and other spaces would not have repercussions in countries like Mexico, so far removed from Russia and from World War II, but it is not. It is worth rethinking what power is and where it leads us”, he reasoned.


After a journey through famine and disease, some of the Poles arrived at the Hacienda de Santa Rosa in Guanajuato, where they started from scratch, sheltered by the love of Mexico like a loving mother.

Although in solidarity, the Mexicans risk challenging Moscow with the disillusioned poet Joseph Stalin at the helm.

“No one wanted to have a problem with Stalin, Mexico raised its hand, and that’s something that the Poles of Santa Rosa are very grateful for,” the writer reveals based on her research.

“The Polish Woman” reveals in the image of Anja the vulnerability of girls during war and everyday aggression, while her brother, Jan, starts from the macho concept of demonstrating his masculinity in war and has a transformation towards humanism and family value.

“Ian goes to the battlefield in search of his own identity, but after a long time he realizes that this was not the way. He is one of the characters that I became the most attached to,” he says. EFE



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