Countess Karolina Lanckoronska was a doughty woman whose aristocratic demeanour, intelligence and linguistic skills made her a valuable asset of the Polish resistance against both Soviet and German occupations. Between 1942 and 1945 she was in and out of Nazi prisons and concentration camps, an experience she recorded soon after her liberation. But there were no takers for her modestly termed ‘report’. It was the wrong subject at the wrong time, a casualty of post-war politics. Initially she was turned down by English publishers for being ‘too anti-Russian’. A few years later her memoir was rejected for being ‘too anti-German’.
Fortunately, with the help and encouragement of friends and an able translator, the ‘report’ now sees the light of day. It has the weight and authenticity of a document composed without hindsight or layers of cultural conditioning.
Karolina Lanckoronska was born in 1898 into a Polish noble family with extensive estates