At the tender age of 12, Julian Kulski swore an oath of secrecy and became a freedom fighter in the underground resistance to Germany’s occupation of his native Poland in World War II. The German invasion in 1939 shattered the middle-class life of his prominent Christian family in Warsaw, toppled the country’s democratic government, and replaced Poland’s traditional flag and its symbolic white eagle with the Nazi swastika. Julian’s father and uncle had been heroes in Poland’s war for independence from Russia in 1919. That legacy inspired the boy’s patriotism and determination to fight for freedom, family, friends, and Poland until American soldiers rescued him from a German prison camp at the end of the war. He was then 16.
Dr. Julian E. Kulski’s autobiographical “Legacy of the White Eagle” is that rare gift to history teachers and their students a primary source with the gripping excitement and emotional connection of a novel. The 2006-2007 National History Day theme, “Triumph and Tragedy,” resounds through this book.
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