Vladek Spiegelman


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As an adult, Art visits his father, from whom he has become estranged. Vladek has remarried to a woman called Mala since the suicide in 1968 of Art's mother Anja. Art asks Vladek to recount his Holocaust experiences. Vladek tells of his time in the Polish city Częstochowa and how he came to marry into Anja's wealthy family in 1937 and move to Sosnowiec to become a manufacturer. Vladek begs Art not to include this in the book, and Art reluctantly agrees. Anja suffers a breakdown due to postpartum depression after giving birth to their first son Richieu,[b] and the couple go to a sanitarium in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia for her to recover. After they return, political and antisemitic tensions build until Vladek is drafted just before the Nazi invasion. Vladek is captured at the front and forced to work as a prisoner of war. After his release, he finds Germany has annexed Sosnowiec, and he is dropped off on the other side of the border in the German protectorate. He sneaks across the border and reunites with his family.