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No Going Back

The Blurb


Arrested by the Gestapo for carrying a gun, Marta has to think fast. With a mixture of courage, cunning and sheer good luck, she faces down her interrogators and protects her beloved fiancé. But at what cost to her?

Nothing in her privileged background prepares her for the horrors of Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. Close friendships and an unshakeable belief help her survive. As the war ends, she has to pull together the fragments of her shattered life. What does the future hold and will she ever see her fiancé again?

Blending imagination with historical fact and the memories of an exceptional woman, No Going Back is a tale as gripping as it is moving and offers a unique insight into one of modern Europe’s darkest periods.


The Detail

My mother, Marta Paciorkowska, was born in September 1919 and died in October 2003.

After the war ended, most concentration camp survivors didn’t want to talk about their experiences. My mother was different, but family and friends rebuffed her attempts to tell her story: everybody had suffered and they didn’t want to take on board another tale of woe.

I was lucky that we were very close and slowly, bit by bit, she revealed her experiences to me. It wasn’t a straightforward process: sometimes she seemed eager to talk and then stopped after a few sentences; at other times, she rebuffed my questions outright.

I persevered and made notes of whatever she told me. On one occasion, she wrote me a letter detailing her first arrest and her later interrogation.

Aside from the wartime experiences, she was happy to talk about her family and the stranger than fiction episodes in their lives. I wanted to preserve those for posterity and they were one reason I self-published: I wasn’t sure an editor would have the patience for them.

You can imagine how touched I was, after her death, to find her carefully prepared portfolio of information. It was here that I discovered they had sent her to a sub-camp of Ravensbruck called Finow. I’d always assumed she’d been at the main camp because she always talked about Ravensbruck, never Finow.

This was an important detail because the main camp was liberated by the Soviets and my mother’s future would have looked very different.

Her story was an extraordinary one and I always knew I had to write it.

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