Buy Study Guide Dramatic Irony: Joseph In Warsaw When Joseph returns to Warsaw after his imprisonment, he spends time looking around the burned down houses and the cellars, ironically at the same time that his children are living in a burned cellar under the house they used to live in. Despite the fact they had a son who was a soldier in the German army, a person whom Jan feels obligated to hate, he tells them that, if it were not for being committed to going to Switzerland with the Balickis, he would love to stay. The irony is further pronounced when Frau Wolff tells Jan he is actually a lot like her deceased son because of their mutual love of animals. He only obeys Ruth—technically his sister, but actually his real mother figure.

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Joseph is a headmaster of a primary school, and his wife, Margrit, tends to their three children: Edek 11 , Ruth 14 , and Bronia 3. In the Nazis are menacing the Poles, and Joseph is sent to a prison camp in the mountains of South Poland. In the crowded camp, the men do what they can to stay warm. Few are strong enough to try to escape, but Joseph is determined. He had tried to break away once before, and ended up in solitary confinement. He now tries harder to lay his plans.

He knows he cannot cut the wire fence, so he decides to disguise himself as a guard. He unlocks his cell, dresses in the uniform, and heads out to the changing of the guard. He had memorized all the steps and orders, and tells someone who asks that he is going to Shangri-La, a nightclub where the soldiers unwind. Joseph walks straight out, and does not look back.

Chapter 2: Journeys Through the Air Joseph heads toward the village of Zaknya, a mile below the camp. He tries to avoid being spotted and dives under what looks like a cart without wheels. Someone bangs a heavy crate down on it, though, and he realizes that he is moving. He is in a roofless cage—an aerial luggage tram. He is very relieved that he is moving further and further away from his enemies. The cage creaks and shakes in the darkness.

He then wonders if his enemies will be up at the top as well, and positions himself to face the dark mountain. Joseph is holding a large chunk of chocolate that appears like a gun in the dark; he says he has a revolver pointed, and if the person makes a sound, he will shoot.

He tells the man to unload the cage and to take him to where he lives. The man obeys and takes Joseph to his chalet. There is an old woman sitting by a bright fire. Joseph explains why he is wearing the Nazi uniform, and shows them his number on his arm. They believe him, and bravely decide to let him stay.

They give him a warm bed and tell him he can hide in the woodshed if guards come looking for him. However, when German voices sound out the next morning there, is no time to run to the shed, so Joseph climbs into the chimney. He is almost discovered, but soot puffing out of the chimney leads the Germans to run away for fear of dirtying their uniforms. Joseph remains for two weeks with the old couple, who treat him as a son.

He eats well and feels at peace for the first time in a long while. He is often tempted to go outside, but knows he cannot expose himself. When it is time to leave, the old man guides him for three days until they clear the precipitous mountains. They reach the edge of the snow line and Joseph is filled with happiness when he sees flowers. The old man blesses him and wishes him good fortune. It is now a bleak, lonely, ruined place. People still live there, though, and do what they can to survive.

The railway is the only lively place. Joseph finds where he used to teach and live. A neighbor tells him the Nazis destroyed his school and his wife was sent to Germany as a foreign worker on the land. When he asks about his children, she says she knows nothing, but he thinks she is hiding something.

Finally, she confesses that the night he was taken way, someone fired on the Nazi van from his house; about an hour later, the Nazis came and blew up the house. Joseph is shocked and horrified; all he can do is walk around, dazed. He remains with the neighbor, Mrs. Krause, for a few days. She tells him to go find his wife, because the children are surely gone. Joseph cannot bear to leave. Joseph notices a ragged little boy watching him.

The boy is holding a kitten, and Joseph walks over and asks its name. The boy says the kitten has no name. He will not tell Joseph his own name. The boy tells Joseph to give him the sword, because this pile is his. Joseph replies that it is his house. He decides to give the boy food, but finds that he has already pickpocketed a sandwich. Joseph tells the boy about his children and how he is certain they are not dead.

He tells him that he will give him the sword if he promises to tell the children, if he sees them, about their father and how he has gone to Switzerland where their grandparents live. The boy grabs the sword and does not reply. Joseph calls after him that he will tell him more tomorrow and he should meet him here. The boy does not reply.

Chapter 5: The Goods Train Joseph is surprised that the boy keeps their appointment. He tells him his plan to jump a train to Switzerland; the boy matter-of-factly says that Joseph will be caught and shot, or else will freeze on the tracks.

The boy says has seen these things happen, but he will show Joseph the bend where the trains slow. Joseph runs after him and wonders about this strange and extraordinary boy. They sit and watch the trains pass; Joseph hopes for tp find a goods train. He is flabbergasted to see that the boy has picked his pockets again, and is contentedly eating his food. That evening they meet again, and the boy guides him to the back path so Nazi patrols will not see them.

The boy is carrying many loaves of bread, and he gives a lot of them to Joseph, telling him he took them from the Nazi barracks. They hide in an empty warehouse. It is chilly and drizzling. The boy still does not give his name; he says he only has his cat and a little wooden box. He takes out the sword and says it will bring him luck because it is the only thing given to him: he did not steal it. He whispers that his name is Jan , but he does not give a surname.

After a long time, a goods train finally rumbles by; Joseph tells Jan to remember his promise, and that he will not forget him.

Joseph jumps on the train, but Jan does not see him. It is raining heavily and Jan is soaked. He tries to warm the cat, and clutches his wooden box with the silver sword inside very tightly. All the children are asleep, Edek on the top floor and the girls below. Edek jumps up when he hears a noise outside, but his door is locked. He uses a trapdoor to the attic and climbs up there. Outside, he sees a van. Voices downstairs stop, and outside Edek can see Stormtroopers taking his mother to the van.

When she is inside, he fires, hitting a soldier in the arm and puncturing a wheel. The van careens away swiftly. He tells them what he did; Ruth says that was silly, and they must get away. They barely have time to dress properly. They cannot go out the front door; the only way is the roof. They climb up the attic and out on the roof through a skylight.

Edek warns tiny Bronia not to make a sound. It is a terrifying couple of steps in the V between the chimney and the roof ridge. They slide into the ridge and cannot see what is going on below.

All of the roof ridges in the area are connected, which is lucky: they would not have gotten away otherwise. They climb for about a hundred yards; then they hear a magnificent explosion.

They see their house billow up into fire and smoke. Edek calls for them to keep moving and they finally descend a twisted fire escape. They hurry far away from the fire. The pale dawn breaks and they shelter in a cellar of a bombed house. The prose is simple, the morals clear, the ending happy, and the horrors of war muted for the reading audience.

Readers will encounter: orphaned, starving children; ruined and bombed homes and cities; excesses of despair and anxiety; sickness; and palpable fear of a merciless enemy. Children may focus on the adventure and the journey, delighting in the reunion of the family, but adult readers will no doubt find the references to the war—occupation zones, Russian troops, Nazis, etc. In these beginning chapters, readers meet Joseph Balicki , the patriarch whose verve and courage were clearly passed down to his children.

Joseph has a very dangerous job in German-occupied Poland, and when he turns a picture of Hitler to face the wall, he is carted off without warning. The Nazis often targeted educators, artists, poets, political activists, and other intellectuals because they tended to be more liberal and critical of the Nazi regime.


[PDF] Escape From Warsaw Book by Ian Serraillier Free Download (218 pages)

His middle school had already been taken over by the Nazis after the Invasion of Poland , and he was forced to teach lessons entirely in German. Pictures of Adolf Hitler had been put up around the school, and during a lesson Joseph had turned one of these pictures around to face the wall. His wife, Margrit, and three children Ruth aged nearly 14, Edek 11, and Bronia 3 are left behind to fend for themselves and survive. He then heads to his hometown of Warsaw. After fleeing the prison, Joseph arrives at a house in a nearby village and takes shelter with an elderly couple living there.

AR 725-50 PDF

Ian Serraillier



The Silver Sword Irony


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