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TO HAVE A TOMORROW
A True Story
When World War II began on Polish soil, the population was 34 million. At the end of 1946, the population had diminished to 21 million. Coming out of the depths of Hitler's and Stalin's Nazi and Communists' unimaginable inhumanity, the most meaningful question Gene's family and others asked themselves almost daily was WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TODAY TO HAVE A TOMORROW?
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About the book
TO HAVE A TOMORROW, A TRUE STORY by GENE FISCH.
"To Have Tomorrow, A True Story" is the story of what my Polish family and I experienced in one of the most terrifying and devastating of times—the period just before and during the cataclysm that was World War II, when my first home, Poland, and her people were caught between the aggression and atrocities of the Nazis in Germany and the cruelty and murderous Soviet Union’s occupations, deportations, relocations, deaths by starvation, freezing, mass executions, slave labor, concentration, gulags, death trains concealed from worldwide media during six years of the Second World War.
The environments in which this story unfolds are transfixing in themselves. Retelling them has brought most of them back to me in stark detail: From my mother’s decision to leave her estate and go into the fire as a freedom fighter to camouflaging themselves in a village in eastern Poland bordering Russia to a hidden refuge in the dense Polesian forest and marshland, to my life’s beginnings, experiencing the ugliness of two Nazi work camps and multiple death trains, and to the displaced persons camp in Germany and our home, at last, in the Polish/Slavic community in Syracuse’s west end, so typical of the many ethnic communities in the U. S. Northeastern and Midwestern cities of the day.
Most compelling about our survival, was not that a family of six survived intact five brutal occupations, even while one of three Polish Citizens were left behind in silent graves, it is how my parents kept us alive, during those terrible times.
Although commercial bookshelves and e-books are populated heavily with works on World War II, successful sports figures, strong women taking leadership roles in difficult times, even refugees hiding from cruel enemies, this narrative is unusual in the way it knits all these elements together in an uncommon—perhaps unique—and compelling way.
to have a tomorrow
A True story
Gene Fisch’s biography/autobiography (this story actually begins before Gene is born) is a riveting tale of his family’s stunning triumph over adversity that leaves the reader breathless. Gene’s preface frames the entire story but the First Chapter draws you in with a remarkable portrait of his first foray into the Mecca of Basketball, New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. As you relish in Gene’s story telling gifts with his game summary, he deftly redirects you like one of his famed no look passes to his anxiety filled arrival at Ellis Island eight years prior – from this point it is very hard to put this book down.
That story begins in the dystopian world of eastern Europe in the late nineteen thirties. Caught between two of the cruelest forces of the Twentieth Century, Poland and her proud citizenry were facing the impossible circumstance of their geographic fate, positioned between Hitler’s Third Reich in Germany and Stalin’s expansionist USSR.
Into the center of this storm, we meet Bronislawa and Andrew Fisch, Gene’s amazing parents. This is where the story begins in earnest and where you will be stunned at learning the daily challenges they faced and how with the profound spiritual guidance of Andrew and the ingenuity, resourcefulness and tenacity of Bronislawa, they managed to keep this family of six together in a way that simply defies belief.
The second half of the book will renew your faith in the power of determined people to survive and then thrive no matter how daunting the circumstances…Gene Fisch has given us a great gift with “To Have Tomorrow” and I know you will appreciate it as well.
Herald Journal/Post Standard official archives Onondaga Historical Association
Photo by John Sherlock