Secret City by Gunnar S. Paulsson
The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945

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Although the Nazis forced most of Warsaw's Jews into the city's famous ghetto during World War II, some 28,000 Jews either hid and never entered the Warsaw Ghetto, or escaped from it in what Gunnar S. Paulsson calls "the greatest prison break in history". This book tell the dramatic story of the hidden Jews of Warsaw. Drawing on memoirs, diaries, testimonies, and the records of Jewish and Polish organizations that helped the fugitives, Paulsson shows that after the 1942 deportations nearly a quarter of the ghetto's remaining Jews managed to escape. Once in hiding, connected by elaborate networks of which Poles, Germans, and the Jews themselves were largely unaware, they formed what can aptly be called a secret city. Paulsson challenges many established assumptions. He shows that despite appalling difficulties and dangers, many of these Jews survived; that the much-reviled German, Polish and Jewish policemen, as well as Jewish converts and their families, were key in helping Jews escape; that though many more Poles helped than harmed the Jews, most stayed neutral; and that escape and hiding happened spontaneously, without much help from either the Polish or the Jewish underground. He also suggests that the Jewish leadership was wrong to dismiss the possibility of escape, staking everything on a hopeless uprising.

About Gunnar S. Paulsson

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Published January 14, 2003 by Yale University Press UK SR. 330 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Secret City

The Guardian

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Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw 1940-1945 by Gunnar S Paulsson 320pp, Yale, £25 Words to Outlive Us: Voices from the Warsaw Ghetto by Michal Grynberg, translated by Philip Boehm 493pp, Granta, £20 Writing in the Guardian after a visit to the Gaza Strip, Oona King MP compared the ...

Nov 15 2003 | Read Full Review of Secret City: The Hidden Jews ...

Publishers Weekly

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Using diaries, witness testimony, and quantitative analysis (in which he tries to ascertain the precise numbers of people in the various groups he is writing about) Paulson draws a vibrant portrait of the complexity of Warsaw life, and especially of what he calls the "secret city," a collection o...

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Project MUSE

The book presents the stories of the escapees in chronological order from the formation of the Warsaw ghetto in autumn 1940 through the Great Deportation of July–September 1942, the Aktion of January of 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 1943, the liquidation of the ghetto in summer 1943, ...

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