23 Days are the wartime memoirs of Antoni Jozef (Joe) Podolski, written by him some 44 years after the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939.
It records his fight against the invading Russian Army, his subsequent capture, imprisonment and brutal interrogation before being sentenced to death and spending 23 days on death row in a prison in the town of Orsha, Russia.
A reprieve condemned him to the Vorkuta Gulag in the Arctic Ural Mountains. His subsequent escape to England via Finland is described followed by details of his return to Europe through Lithuania as a member of SOE. Finally a reunion with Polish Forces in the Middle East was made possible after the Nazi invasion of Russia caused the Soviets to become an uneasy ally of Poland.
He returned to England once more and became a fighter pilot with the Polish Air Force at the tail end of hostilities, all by the ripe old age of 22.
He died in Norfolk in 1999 aged 76.
Read more about Joe's experiences, including free extracts here.