Hanging Hitler's Long Johns: A Memoir
By Roman Ward with Fred Feldinger
"In 2010 my new friend Roman Ward (nee Wisniewski) asked me to look at the journal his mother kept during their six-year odyssey of dodging the Nazis, Polish bounty hunters, neo-Nazis and G.I. bigots during and in the aftermath of World War II. Roman had promised his mother, Jadwiga, on her deathbed that he would have her journal published in his lifetime. Three writers had attempted to make a book of her journals but Roman felt all had failed utterly. I would learn that Roman himself had never read his mother’s writing and, like many Jews who survived the Holocaust, Roman and Jadwiga had never even talked about the dangers they faced, the horrors they witnessed or the loss of over a hundred family members.
Reading the journal made it obvious why the other writers had disappointed Roman: The best story was his. In fifty years as a working journalist it is the most astonishing personal narrative I have ever heard; how a 12-year-old boy was entrusted by his father with saving his older sister and mother. “You are the only one who will survive this war,” Roman’s father told him in the Polish ghetto before Roman fled wearing a Hitler Youth uniform. This then is the story of Roman Ward from his birth in Poland, through the War and DP camps, through his service in the fledgling Israeli Air Force to finally reuniting with his mother in America. He has honored his promise to his mother; each chapter begins with her account of what happened and the book is filled with her accounts wherever Roman could confirm and expand them. It’s a true and amazing story."
Los Angeles, 2016
Paperback, 250 pages.