Published: 31/12/2010
ISBN: 9781848766037
Format: Paperback

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About the Author

Edward Henrik Herzbaum was born in Vienna in 1920, to Polish-Jewish parents. He was educated in Austria and Poland. In September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland at the start of World War II, Edwar... read more

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Lost Between Worlds
A World War II Journey of Survival
by Edward H. Herzbaum

Lost Between Worlds is based on a journal written between 1940 and 1945 when Edward H Herzbaum was in his twenties. It is a first-hand account of his horrendous wartime experiences, both physical and psychological, published for the first time: the journal had been lying in a suitcase for 65 years until it was discovered and translated.

The book spans a period of history from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to the end of the Italian Campaign in 1945. It recounts how Edward was arrested and interned by the Germans but escaped. He travelled to eastern Poland to avoid being recaptured, but there he was arrested by the Russians and deported to a Gulag, where he suffered starvation, brutality and horrific working and living conditions. After Germany’s attack on Russia, Edward and the other Polish prisoners were amnestied and released to join a newly-formed Polish army, under British command. They travelled through Middle Asia, Iraq, Iran, British Palestine and Egypt, eventually fighting in the Italian Campaign. Edward writes at times with humour and irony and at other times with desperation, about his arduous journey and the awful psychological after-effects of the experiences which he and the other Poles had endured. The loss of family, friends and country and the feelings of loneliness at finding themselves completely displaced from their ‘old world’, with no knowledge of what their ‘new world’ might look like, even if they survived the war. This book will appeal to fans of history and those interested in the Second World War.

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Between 1940 and 1944, Edward kept a journal in which he documented his wartime experiences. The notebooks in which he wrote, were put in an old leather suitcase, where they remained, unread, for 65 years. His daughter inherited the notebooks when her mother died in 2002 and in 2009 decided to have them translated into English. ‘Lost Between Worlds’ is the result. The book also includes some letters that Edward wrote, as well as some of his artwork also done during the same period.

Edward’s granddaughter, a freelance photographer, recently completed a project called ‘Edek’. Based on the journals, she travelled, with her camera, to areas which her grandfather had written about. The resulting work can be seen at

Bieganski The Blog,, March 2011

Poland In Exile,, March 2011

A terrifying, tragic, beautiful, personal and painfully fleeting glimpse into a life.

by Guy.


I have just finished reading this book and can say truthfully that I have not read a book this engaging for a long time.

Worried, when I picked the book up that it would simply be a historical account, my preconceptions were quickly eradicated as I began the long journey that Edward took as a young man caught up in events of the second world war.

It's not about the war itself so much as it is about Edward growing up and experiencing what should have been some of the most exciting years of his life. I am glad that the original log entries were not edited; there is an honesty in the way he writes and the things he says which makes you feel as if you are experiencing this journey with him.

There is very little stability in his life at this time and yet he manages to survive all of it and come out the other side; only to have his life shortened by cancer. It is only when reflecting on this book that you realise the ramifications of what he has described - he deals with everything in such a matter-of-fact and down to earth way that you don't feel it's true impact until you close the book.

Every log entry and letter serves as a window through which it is possible to see the world as it was. I feel privileged to have shared a part of this man's life and I challenge anyone to read this book and not end up and feeling that a world without war has the potential to be a truly amazing place.

by Emu


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