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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Hell to Reality: One Prisoner's Journey is a historical fiction novel written by Jack Grylewicz. Poland in 1939 was at the mercy of two invading forces: the Russians from the east and the Germans from the west. Neither of the conquering armies gave Poles any sense of reassurance or pretension of safety. Peter Mayer and his family were to discover all too soon that him being a German national meant he would be targeted by the Gestapo for their new project, the Volksdeutsche list. Peter knew he couldn’t in conscience cooperate with the Gestapo, no matter how threatening or how brutally they treated him. His cooperation would involve betraying everyone he cared about. His first concerns, however, were for the well-being of his wife, Mary, and their two young sons, John and Vladek. Could he keep them safe, and would he be able to survive the inevitable imprisonment and torture that defying the Gestapo would earn him?
Jack Grylewicz’s Hell to Reality: One Prisoner's Journey gives the reader new insights into the political environment in Poland during the Second World War through the experiences of Peter and Mary Mayer, whose lives are suddenly subjected to a campaign of persecution and betrayal. The author’s story highlights the resilience of his two main characters and the strength of their convictions in defying the will of the German invaders while keeping their family safe. Hell to Reality is an exciting and well-told story that proves how fact is often more compelling than fiction. I especially appreciated seeing the support structures that were formed by Peter, his relatives and friends and, realizing the risks, each and every one of them made efforts to save Peter and help him and Mary escape from a country that had become increasingly hostile. Hell to Reality: One Prisoner's Journey is highly recommended.