The Color of Courage A Boy at War by Julian E. Kulski

The Color of Courage A Boy at War

Written by Julian E. Kulski
Illustrated by


The Color of Courage A Boy at War by Julian E. Kulski

If there is going to be a war, I do not want to miss it. So writes Julian Kulski a few days before WWII begins, in this remarkable diary of a boy at war from ages 10 to 16. As the war unfolds through his eyes, we are privileged to meet an inspirational soul of indomitable will, courage and compassion. At age 12 Kulski is recruited as a soldier in the clandestine Underground Army by his Boy Scout leader, and at age 13 enters the Warsaw Ghetto on a secret mission. Arrested by the Gestapo at age 14 and sentenced to Auschwitz, he is rescued and joins the commandos. At age 15, Kulski fights in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. He ends the war as a German POW, finally risking a dash for freedom onto an American truck instead of waiting for Soviet liberation.


Quite remarkable--The Boston Globe Part of a legend The Washington Post Deeply moving. The Jewish News An amazing story. The Jewish Veteran Part of a legend The Washington Post

An amazing story. The Jewish Veteran Quite remarkable An incredible book...compelling, forceful, educational and filled with events that are written so vividly...a book of extreme historical significance. An incredible book.

Written in 1945, soon after he was released from a POW camp run by the Germans, Kulski's war diary is immensely accessible today and the account of a young teen's coming of age. How do we communicate to today's young people, especially the privileged in the Western world, about the threats of totalitarianism, racism, extremism? How can they who live lives with safe spaces understand what it is to take up the rifle at age 15? Kulski's account is fascinating because of its blend of attention to the persecution of Jews and his descriptions of the issues that non-Jewish Poles faced...Memoirs like this serve an essential purpose in binding together the history of the Holocaust and the countries in which it took place. The persecution of Jews was not some isolated event in a vacuum but part of the destruction of Europe. It is not a Jewish issue only, as this book reminds us, but one that crosses boundaries of family and life. This account binds together Jewish and Polish history and speaks to the common struggle against tyranny and the fight for freedom that people sought in the 1940s and are still seeking today. J. Frantzman, Immensely accessible today and the account of a young teen's coming of age.

Kulski, a renowned architect, wrote the original manuscript in 1945 at age 16 as a means of dealing with post-traumatic stress. In a diaristic format, it chronicles his experiences as a child soldier in the Polish Army. Kulski's father was the acting mayor of Warsaw during the occupation, and, at the time, he had a Jewish girlfriend, with whom he remained in close contact until the Nazis isolated the Jewish ghetto from the rest of the city. Because of those two relationships, Kulski was able to give shape to the wider context of the Resistance movement, including the heroic fight of the Jewish insurgents in the monthlong Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of spring 1943. The story culminates with Kulski's participation, at age 15, in the 60-day Warsaw Uprising of August and September 1944. Kulski's youthful patriotism and optimism is evident throughout his story, which is at once absorbing, inspiring, and tragic. Designed to be useful in a classroom, this new edition includes links to relevant online material and includes a list of discussion questions classroom settings. B&w photos. At once absorbing, inspiring, and tragic.

An exceptional coming-of-age story. Julian Kulski's true-life adventure as a teenage resistance fighter in Warsaw during World War II leaps off the page in this riveting diary. He is an amazing man and a real hero for freedom. --Rita Cosby, An exceptional coming of age story.

--the unforgettable true story of a boy soldier in World War II. --Susan Eisenhower, Haunting and powerful.

Quite remarkable.--Quite remarkable. The Boston Globe

President, Republic of Poland (2010-2015)

General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.); Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (2014-2015); Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force (2011-2013)

President, Jan Karski Educational Foundation

Kurier Polski of Minnesota

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Ruthfully Yours

An Unconventional Librarian

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Chief Rabbi of Poland

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Cosmopolitan Review, Fall 2014

Publishers Weekly, September 15, 2014

Foreword Reviews, November 7, 2014

Jerusalem Post, July 11, 2016

; readers are directed to YouTube links of footage from German and Polish propaganda reels. Although this diary might do best in a general public library collection, Holocaust libraries might find this book useful for its insights into the role of the Polish underground. Cantor, Yeshiva University, NY, Riveting...Holocaust libraries might find this book useful for its insights into the role of the Polish underground.

Haunting and powerful? the unforgettable true story of a boy soldier in World War II. --Susan Eisenhower, Haunting and powerful.

Might be considered a companion piece to Anne Frank's Diary, juxtaposing the constant question of survival with a child's fresh adolescence. Stirring account of the will to live and to fight. -- Might be considered a companion piece to Anne Frank's Diary.

Heartening account. A touching story, one which shows a side of the Polish resistance not often reported. -- A touching story.

Deeply moving. -- Deeply moving.

An amazing story. -- An amazing story.

About the Author

Julian E. Kulski was born in 1929 in Warsaw, Poland. A graduate of Yale University (M.Arch) and Warsaw Institute of Technology (Ph.D. Urban Planning), Kulski is a semi-retired architect who as taught at U.S. universities and consulted for World Bank. He has been published multiple times and is a frequent speaker. Kulski resides Washington, D.C.

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Book Info


304 pages


Julian E. Kulski
More books by Julian E. Kulski


Aquila Polonica Publishing

Publication date

7th October 2014



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