Michael Krupa was born into a poor family in south-west Poland and was accepted into a Jesuit seminary. He ran away before taking his final vows and joined the army. Krupa survived Hitler's invasion but served ten years in a labour camp before escaping to Afghanistan after an epic journey. Here he tells his remarkable story.
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Michael Krupa was born into a poor family in south-west Poland, and in his teens was accepted into a Jesuit seminary. He ran away before taking his final vows and joined the army. Soon afterwards, the German tanks rolled into Poland and easily defeated her antiquated forces - the Polish cavalry were armed with sabres. Krupa survived Hitler's invasion, but was arrested in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland and accused of spying. After enduring torture in Moscow's notorious Lubianka prison, he was sentenced to ten years' corrective labour and deported to the Pechora Gulag. Most prisoners there were worked and starved to death within a year. But Krupa managed again to escape, and in the chaos following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union made one of the most extraordinary journeys of the war - from Siberia to safety in Afghanistan. Krupa's Jesuit training had given him an inner strength and resilience which enabled him to survive in the face of appalling brutality and cruelty. Luck and the kindness of strangers helped him complete his epic journey to freedom. The story of the suffering inflicted on millions in Stalin's camps has been told before - but Krupa's story is remarkable and uni
'an extraordinary testimony to the strength of the human spirit when it has to contend with beasts in human form. Anyone who still hankers after Stalin's Russia should be made to read it, and repent. The rest of us can read it and admire his strength of heart'* Michael Foot *
'gives an in-depth picture of both the terror and a land at war, where man is desperate for liberty and security in an almost superhuman urge to survive'* Sudock *
Michael Krupa was born in Rudnik, near Krakow, and trained to be a Jesuit before joining the 13th regiment of the Polish cavalry in 1937. After his extraordinary exploits during the Second World War he moved to Britain and settled in West Yorkshire, where he still lives.