How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story of Survival by Tadeusz Haska and Stefanie Naumann

A heartwarming touchstone to the legacy of one man and the difference he made in the world and a testament to the enduring power of education, How Languages Saved Me tells an unforgettable story of skill and survival — and one that just may inspire you to put down your credit card and pick up the phone to a grandparent this holiday season. 

How Languages Saved Me started out as Tadeusz “Tad” Haska’s memoir, but he had not finished by the time of his passing at the age of ninety-three. His granddaughter Stefanie Naumann has since used recordings, journals, and letters to complete his story in his own words, culminating in what early reviewers are calling “a wonderful, suspenseful, and moving story” and saying “if you only read one book this year, make it this one!”

At the heart of How Languages Saved Me is the notion that every language can help you create a new life: Tad’s knowledge of nine (yes, nine!) languages helped him survive before, during, and after World War II. In one hundred and fifty heart-pounding — and sometimes darkly humorous — pages, readers will step inside Tad’s recollections of translating German newspapers to farmers, job instructions to French prisoners of war, and impersonating a German on occasion — as well as escaping jail by the Soviet Secret Police, fleeing to Sweden, and smuggling his wife to safety in a coffin on an all-male Naval ship. French Proverb: A man who knows two languages is worth two men.

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