Henry (Paperback)

A Polish Swimmer's True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America

By Katrina Shawver

Koehler Books, 9781633935204, 328pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2017



When Katrina Shawver met the eighty-five year old Henry Zguda, he possessed an exceptional memory, a surprising cache of original documents and photos, and a knack for meeting the right people at the right time. Couched in the interview style of Tuesdays with Morrie, Henry relates in his own voice a life as a champion swimmer, interrupted by three years imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a Polish political prisoner. With a pragmatic gallows humor, and sense of hope, he showed the author how to truly live for today, preferably with a shot of good Polish vodka. Henry's path of resiliency and power of connection are as relevant today, as they were in World War II.

Henry reminds us that no single class of people was safe from Hitler's reach or imprisonment, and no country suffered more under Hitler and Stalin than Poland. This bridge to history and view of the Holocaust through Polish eyes is supported by extensive research, and features more than 70 original photos and rare German documents. Ultimately, Henry is the story a strong young man, who survives by his wits, humor, friends, and a healthy dose of luck. This book is for the discerning adult looking for an intelligent read that examines World War II, the Holocaust, and the true meaning of friendship then and now.