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Books by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab


Books by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab

Polish Herbs, Flowers & Folk Medicine: Revised Edition Paperback – November 24, 2020 

“Filled with illustrations and fascinating information, Polish Herbs, Flowers & Folk Medicine is a veritable treasure trove of history, how-to, and inspiration.”―The Midwest Book Review

Taking the reader on a historical tour of herbs and flowers used in Poland throughout the centuries, this carefully-researched volume captures the unique history and role of plant life once essential to the people of Poland. Wander through monastery, castle and cottage gardens with acclaimed Polish-American author Sophie Hodorowicz Knab as she explores the growth of medicine and pharmacies and provides information on the use of over 100 plants, used in healing as well as in daily life and seasonal holidays throughout the year.

You’ll find legends, cautionary tales, and love potions, as well as a chapter devoted to wedding plants and herbs. There are home remedies for everything that ailed the people of Poland, from acne to arthritis, relaxants to rejuvenators, and heartache to heartburn. 
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Sophie Hodorowicz Knab?
January 25, 2017 I just finished reading Sophie Hodorowicz Knab's book,"Wearing the Letter P". What struck me most about the book is how well it was researched. The book is based not only on readings and materials published by leading Polish historians, but also on numerous testimonies of women who survived the hardships of forced labor during WWll -- including Sophie's mother. Although Sophie had heard many of her mother's stories of being a forced laborer in Germany during the war, many questions remained unanswered. This book answers those questions and is without doubt the definitive resource on the subject. So many oral histories of those women who were forced to wear THE LETTER P provide a very clear picture of what they endured.
- Bob Johnson, PoloniaMusic.com
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Sophie Hodorowicz Knab?
Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945 
Sophie Hodorowicz Knab

An unflinching, detailed portrait of a forgotten group of Nazi forced labor survivors.

"My mother, who was a Polish forced laborer from 1942 to 1945, never talked to me about her life during the war. Now I know. With a great combination of scholarly research and moving first person accounts, Knab's "Wearing the Letter P" vividly describes the terrible, heartbreaking ordeal that my mother and hundreds of thousands of Poles suffered. She expertly sheds light on a part of World War II that s been totally ignored."
- Charles Belfoure, author of The Paris Architect 

"In years to come, Wearing the Letter P will be the book to which readers turn to understand what the Germans did to the almost 2 million Poles who were taken to Germany as slave and forced laborers. Blending a thorough search of historical documents with the personal narratives of girls and women who were taken to Germany, Knab recreates the story of what happened to the woman of Poland like no other historian has done. If you want to know what happened, this is the book to read."
John Guzlowski, author of Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded 

Written by the daughter of Polish forced laborers, Wearing the Letter 'P' gives a voice to women who were taken from their homes as young as 12 years old and subjected to slave labor conditions, starvation, sexual exploitation, and forced abortions and child separation—all while Nazi propaganda depicted them as well-cared-for volunteers. An important contribution to World War II history, based on archival records from the U.S. and Europe, family records, war crime trials, and previously unpublished victim accounts. 

For years Sophie Hodorowicz Knab's mother was unable to discuss or answer questions about this period of her life. Compelled to learn more about her mother's experience and that of other Polish women, Knab began a personal and emotional quest. Over the course of 14 years, she conducted extensive research of postwar trial testimonies housed in archives in the U.S., London, and in Warsaw to piece together facts and individual stories from this singular and often-overlooked aspect of World War II history. As mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters, female Polish forced laborers faced a unique set of challenges and often unspeakable conditions because of their gender. Required to sew a large letter "P" onto their jackets, thousands of women were taken from their homes in Poland and forced to work for the Reich across Germany for months and years on end. 

Even before the invasion of Poland in September 1939, Hitler and his top officials had designated the Polish people as Untermensch, or "subhuman": 

"Poland shall be treated as a colony; the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German world Empire. " 

Knab explains how it all happened, from the beginning of occupation in Poland to liberation: the roundups; the horrors of transit camps; the living and working conditions of Polish women in agriculture and industry; and the anguish of sexual exploitation and forced abortions--all under the constant threat of concentration camps. Knab draws from documents, government and family records, rare photos, and most importantly, numerous victim accounts and diaries, letters and trial testimonies, finally bringing to light to the atrocities that they endured.

Gleaned from old Polish herbals, Knab provides recipes for balms to treat ailments such as stress, insomnia, slow metabolism, perspiring feet, limp hair and oily skin. Also included are recipes for homemade herbal vinegars, soups, syrups, and liqueurs, including elderberry syrup, homemade Benedictine, and a healing vodka drink from Gdansk.

This revised edition includes new information and research as well as new illustrations and color photographs. All plants are listed alphabetically according to their English common name, followed by Latin botanical name and common Polish name. There is an index of scientific names for quick reference. History buffs, gardeners, and anyone interested in their Polish ancestry will find much to explore here.
Monday, January 6, 2021 - She loves me, she loves me not...
I learn so much about Polish culture from Sophie's books. I especially love this one because it connects simple things like herbs and flowers to pre-Christian culture as well as the many practical medicinal uses of herbs throughout the ages. 

FYI, I happen to have a long-standing interest in the health benefits of herbs--some of them anyway. I also like learning about the distant past; how my ancestors lived one hundred, one thousand, and five thousand years ago. I like knowing how marjoram ended up in my kielbasa (Yes, it tastes great!), but I also like knowing about its many benefits: it was used for bruises, inflamed eyes, colds, sneezing, indigestion and other things. (I'm not sure what spices are used in the preparation of kiszka, but I suspect I found another reason why people keep stealing it!) 

And there are so many herbs! So many I knew nothing about, but now I can enjoy learning about them.

How about the daisy? Our ancestors used daisies for fever, cough, and consumption. Maybe people still do? I never have. But of course we have all used it for guidance in romantic ventures...

Here is the Polish version of "She loves me, she loves me not...":

Nie kocha
Bardzo mało
Wcale nie
Loves me
Loves me not
Very little
Not at all
My advice: Use the Polish version. 
The odds are better!
(You probably won't have to cheat!)