Pięć lat kacetu (“Five Years in Concentration Camps”) by Stanisław Grzesiuk has been published in German by the Viennese publishing house New Academic Press (NAP). The Book Institute supported the publication of the book as part of the ©POLAND Translation Programme.
“My grandfather would be genuinely touched that the book will be published in the country where he spent 5 years in concentration camps,” says Izabela Laszuk, granddaughter of Stanisław Grzesiuk. “Of course, one could complain that this will only happen 75 years after the end of the Second World War, and it should have happened earlier. But I prefer to see it this way: it is never too late to read books that change your mind. I am glad that a prestigious publishing house decided to pick Five Years in Concentration Camps, because to me, this book is a vaccine against every hateful ideology. I hope that one day, I will see this title on the list of required readings in Polish schools.”
Five Years in Concentration Camps is one of the most renowned memoirs of the Dachau, Mauthausen, and Gusen concentration camps. Stanisław Grzesiuk portrays the Nazi machine of work and death with his own humour, sincerity, and directness. He also tries to talk about the price of humanity in the place that stripped it away.
In May 1958, the book appeared in bookshops and immediately disappeared from the shelves. In the libraries, one would queue for up to a year to borrow the book. Readers wrote to the author asking him to intervene.
The book was widely discussed by former prisoners, and Grzesiuk was sued for defamation, which ended with a settlement.
The author of the translation is Antje Ritter-Miller.