Barbara Rylko-Bauer (2014)

A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade

Publishing house University of Oklahoma Press
Place of publication Norman, OK, USA
Page references 400
Language English

ISBN: 978-0-8061-4431-3

This “intimate ethnography" interweaves personal family narrative with historical and sociopolitical context
to produce a daughter-anthropologist's account of her mother's World War II
experiences. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko (Jadzia), was a young Polish Catholic
physician in Lodz at the start of World War II. She was arrested in January 1944,
suspected of resistance activities. For the next fifteen months she endured three
concentration camps and a 42-day death march, spending part of this time as a
prisoner-doctor in Jewish slave labor camps. The book follows Jadzia from her
medical training through her wartime experiences and her postwar struggles—to
rebuild a new life, first as a refugee doctor in Germany and later as an
immigrant in the United States. Predominant
themes include medicine and gender; medicine in contexts of violence; Polish Christian experiences of World War II against the backdrop of the Jewish Holocaust; the political economy
of Nazi slave labor; the struggles of postwar refugees and displaced persons; and the paradoxes of the U.S. immigrant experience. The book is grounded in scholarship but written for a broader audience. It includes 4 maps, 28 photographs, index, bibliography, and historical notes.