no hell hinter book review

In the autobiography No Heil Hitler, the story is given extra force through the skilful introduction of the contrast between life before and after the Nazi takeover of Poland on September 1, 1939.

Even the morning of September 1, 1939, dawned especially clear and beautiful in Wisla.

But all this beauty was shattered for the 10-year-old boy when 3 German fighter planes suddenly appeared while Paul was out watching the family’s cattle.

From that moment, Paul’s life changed forever.

Polish town names became German.

Give Me the Story


Polish teachers were replaced with Aryan teachers.

The only language to be used for official business became German.

And then there were the disappearances:
• of the Jews – like Lona, the one Jewish girl in Paul’s school class;
• of those forcefully conscripted for labour;
• of anyone suspected of opposing the Nazi policy.

What is perhaps most prominent in this recount is the mystery surrounding many of these events and the impact this had on the young Paul’s mind.

The necessity of coping with such tremendous alterations in life, as well as the particular dangers faced by Paul and his family during this fearful time, are further set in context by a description of the history of the Cieslar family.

The commitment of Pawel Cieslar senior, the author’s father, to the Seventh-day Adventist church was forged in spite of opposition from his own family. This commitment developed the values that were maintained with quiet determination by the family in spite of opposition from the Nazi party.

Paul’s recollection of the forced closure of their church by the Nazi party reminds us of the value of cultural and religious freedom.

His description of times when the SS unexpectedly came to call and how the family miraculously survived make for thrilling reading.

The narration of events during the governance of Poland’s Russian “liberators” makes your heart ache with the young Paul as he describes the loss of his first love, German Irena, suddenly deported without a trace.

No Heil Hitler! presents Paul as a role model, even a living (though not unflawed) hero, as one who maintained good values and survived such a harrowing period in history.

The Australian values of freedom, tolerance and compassion are important themes of this book.

As 2012 winner of the National Seniors Literary Prize, No Heil Hitler! also makes its author a role model for excellence.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of World War 2, as well as for all who cherish the Australian values of understanding, inclusion and liberty.

Love this Book?

Would you like to see this product before you buy it? Send us your contact details and a representative will contact you very shortly.

More about the themes and application of this book

Show Me
living well resources book reviews