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George Szlachetko was born in Ealing, West London where he still lives with his family and close to his mother, Wira. Having received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Birmingham, he pursued a career in finance. Over the course of three years George interviewed his mother about her extraordinary life, conducting additional research and making a number of visits to Poland to understand the background to her life story.

This is the true story of Danuta who grew up during the brutal German occupation of Warsaw. With the very existence of her nation under threat, Danuta became a girl soldier of the Polish underground army, adopting the pseudonym ‘Wira’. Her mother discovered Wira’s secret – but there could be no turning back. The longed-for Uprising began in August 1944 and Warsaw became an inferno.

Wira played her role in the maze of underground cellars that served as refuges for the cowering civilians, dodging bullets and bombs and narrowly escaping death on numerous occasions.

With Warsaw destroyed, Wira became a POW in Germany. After an emotional liberation, she met a Polish officer with whom she began a new life in England. When she finally revisited communist Poland twenty years later, she felt like a stranger in her homeland.

Now aged 86, Wira reflects on the country she lost, with unwavering patriotism but also an enduring sense of loneliness.

WIRA, (pronounced Vera), became a teenager in a Poland that had been invaded by the Germans and the Soviets. The Polish army’s surviving soldiers were either in captivity or fighting overseas alongside the Allies. The people of Poland were alone but they could not and would not surrender, and soon a new, clandestine army was formed. This homegrown Polish underground army would grow to become one of the biggest and most determined resistance movements of World War II.

     This is Wira of Warsaw’s true story: her formative years in German-occupied Warsaw, her decision to become a freedom fighter at the age of 14, her life on the front line. Wira’s journey does not end with Germany’s surrender but continues with the long–term consequences of that wartime decision, as her life unfolds in exile as a political refugee. George Szlachetko manages to delve deep into Wira’s story as only a son can, revealing buried emotions and intimate details of his mother’s extraordinary life that have lain dormant for over 70 years.

Wira of Warsaw 2015