The Bridge over the Main: How a Small Polish Boy Survived World War II in Germany

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9780966717105: The Bridge over the Main: How a Small Polish Boy Survived World War II in Germany

Stan was just 15 when the Nazis marched into his town in Poland and destroyed the tranquil life he knew. The Nazis ripped him from his familys arms and took him to Bavaria, where he was to do back-breaking labor for a series of cruel masters. The courageous boy remained unbowed before them, despite beatings and other injustices. Still, even in Nazi Germany, young Stan was able to find friends and even a taste of young love. In Bridge Over the Main, Stan tells the true story of how he became a man while he worked as a slave.

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About the Author:

Stan Domoradzki's Biography

Born November 11, 1927 in Konozyce, Poland, Stan Domoradzki was just 15 years old when the Nazis ripped him away from his family in February 1943, and the events described in Bridge Over the Main began.

He was taken to Bavaria and forced to do manual labor for nothing more than meager meals and a roof over his head. His enslavement deprived the boy of formal education, but he learned much about survival and cruelty. Although he was small of stature, he had a spirit big enough to keep him from despairing over his fate. He kept hope alive that he would return to his parents and their home when the war was over. He even sought revenge on the Nazis who wronged him.

After the war, he worked for the armed forces of the United States and served in the Polish guards, who kept watch over Nazis being tried for war crimes. By the late 1940s, Domoradzki, still in Germany, figured he could make a new life in the United States, and so applied to immigrate.

He worked a variety of menial jobs on farms on the east coast before moving to the Chicago area, where he eventually married Olympia Dominiak, and together they raised four children. In 1957, Domoradzki went to work for the railroad, retiring 33 1/2 years later when his wife was dying of cancer. After his wife died in 1990, he left the Chicago area for Minnesota, where he has lived ever since.

He has never forgotten the wrongs done him by the Nazis and their followers, nor has he forgotten the kindness that some Germans showed him during his captivity. He urges us all to learn from the Nazis brutality and offers his story in hopes that people will never let such inhumanity go unchallenged again.

From Booklist:

In 1943, the 14-year-old Domoradzki was taken to Germany to serve as a forced laborer. For the next two years he endured and survived an ordeal of hunger, beatings, verbal abuse, and intimidation. Even after V.E. day and the commencement of American occupation, he could not shake the constant sense of dread. Eventually, Domoradzki emigrated to the U.S., where he married and raised a family. Yet he continues to be haunted by his stolen youth, and this memoir captures that loss in an intense and often heartbreaking manner. Domoradzki is an unschooled writer and his prose is often clumsy and disjointed. Still, the sheer power of his experiences and his unstinting honesty make this a searing narrative of a child striving to cope with a world that he neither made nor understands. Jay Freeman

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Stan Domoradzki; Salvatore Caputo
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