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
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Birlinn General
- Publication Date: 12/07/2004
- Category: True war & combat stories
- ISBN: 9781843410126