Monday, March 23, 2020

Review: How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story of Survival by Tadeusz Haska & Stefanie Naumann

Title: How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story of Survival
Authors: Tadeusz Haska & Stefanie Naumann
Publication: September 24th 2019
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 4/5

"When I was arrested my whole world crumbled. I knew that leaders of political parties had been arrested, and never heard from again. My only chance at survival was to find a way to escape from the jail."

Orphaned in Poland at the age of thirteen, Tadeusz "Tad" Haska survived World War II on the run, narrowly evading the Nazis every step of the way. After the war, he daringly escaped jail by the Soviet Secret Police, fled to Sweden and launched an elaborate plan to smuggle his wife in a coffin on an all-male naval ship. Discover how Tad's knowledge of nine languages helped him survive in the face of unspeakable adversity.

First of all I want to say how grateful I am to have received a review copy of this amazing nonfiction title because I just knew right from reading the synopsis that this would be my kind of book. I love reading true stories and the astonishing story of Tadeusz Haska in How Languages Saved Me certainly was something I will never ever forget about.

A few weeks ago I went to Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen, Belgium which is a Holocaust memorial and museum so with my visit so fresh in my mind this book hit me even harder. Tad's story wasn't so much about the Holocaust and World War II but he lived through it and certainly didn't have an easy time because of it but it expands to much more than that. I can honestly say I was in awe of his characters and endurance.

There's no doubt that this is an important story of someone who went through some of the worst times in history. It's one of those books and accounts that we just can't let ourselves forget. And another thing that I just adored were the various photos spread throughout. Old photographs are always interestig to take a look at but they really made Tad's life and story come alive. 

If I can give one tiny bit of critique is that I wish it had been a little bit longer. I highly enjoyed reading this book and learing about Tad's life that I didn't want it to end and it's not a very long book to begin with. I was so hooked that it was over before I knew it. Great books read so fast!

How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story of Survival by Tadeusz Haska and Stefanie Naumann was nothing short of an epic and remarkable true story. At the beginning of the year I said I wanted to read more memoirs and at this point I don't think I'll read a better memoir than this one.  


  1. Tadeusz Haska sounds incredible. I don't know if I have the heart to read this, I must admit though. Just reading your review broke my heart.

  2. It must be an amazing story if your one critique is that it's too short! I'll have to keep an eye out for this memoir.

  3. Wow, this sounds powerful! I'm glad you were able to read it, especially since you ended up loving it so much.

  4. It sounds like a very good memoir and that it is really emotional and hard hitting. I can only imagine with going to that memorial afterward you were able to feel all the emotions that much deeper. Wow.


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