2013 Catholic Press Association Book Award: Biography (Third Place)
"Mr. Kluger's telling of this remarkable human story is full of insights into the character of his friend from small-town Poland who became one of the most consequential figures of the late twentieth century...."—George Weigel, biographer of Pope John Paul II
In The Pope and I, Jerzy Kluger, a Polish-born Jew, tells of his lifelong friendship with Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II. From their beginnings as classmates and neighbors, Kluger recounts his survival of World War II and his astonishing reunion with Archbishop Wojtyla in Rome during Vatican II. After his friend's election as pope, they continued their close friendship, with Kluger serving as an unofficial advisor in times that saw unprecedented advances in Jewish-Christian relations, including the first papal visit to the synagogue of Rome, John Paul’s pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Auschwitz, and Vatican recognition of Israel.
A fascinating tale told with much charm, The Pope and I highlights the surprising confluences of history, politics, and religion sealed by friendship and mutual respect.
"This often-touching memoir should be of interest to Catholics and Jews, and, really, anyone interested in a remarkable friendship."—Booklist
Jerzy Kluger grew up in the Polish town of Wadowice, where he befriended Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. While most of his family perished in Auschwitz, he escaped Poland and fought with the Allies. After the war he moved to Rome and trained as an engineer. He died on December 31, 2011