The witness of history is the more than 90 years old Upper Silesian Jan Szymczyk, whose wartime fate first directed him to the German army and then to the Polish Armed Forces in the West. [….] However, reading the contents of the book allows us to notice that despite the difference in age and different adolescence realities, both he and the author of the book have established a thread of understanding. This thread, as it seems, allowed Jan Szymczyk to recall his memories sincerely and unrestrainedly, without creating them for the purpose of conversation or for fear of the presented content.
– Maciej Fic, Institute of History, University of Silesia in Katowice
Szymczyk’s memoirs are among the most interesting memoirs. Their author, although descended from a Polish Upper Silesian family and served in the Wehrmacht forcibly and without sympathy for the “Germans”, surprises with a realistic, at times extremely positive assessment of the morale and esprit du corps of the German army and its commanders. Although he found himself joyfully in the Second Polish Corps, he does not avoid making bitter remarks about this unit. These are unusual configurations of perception of reality. Szymczyk’s memoirs are in many places original, interesting and unobvious, bringing an image of the end of the interwar period in Upper Silesia and the period of war and occupation, which is far from politically correct clichés.
– Sebastian Rosenbaum, Institute of National Remembrance