Poland Interrupted: a Journey follows the tumultuous life of Kaz Kowinsky, a boy who comes of age in Krakow following the Great War and joins the Polish resistance when Germany invades at the start of World War II. Like Poland, Kaz’s life is constantly interrupted. He lives in a family that is so dysfunctional he can hardly breathe. Raised by an aunt and uncle, he is returned to his mother, who abandons him in an orphanage. He meets Christina, a bewitching girl who Kaz hopes will become his girl friend, but she chooses his best friend, Charlie, instead.
Kaz rebels against his misfortunes by taking dangerous risks, including a harrowing encounter with a train in blood alley. He escapes the orphanage and makes his own way as an apprentice in a factory. He learns to drive trains, searches for a father he has never known, joins the navy, lives in a whorehouse with Charlie, and meets Daneta, who gets him a job in her father’s factory. Daneta reads books, listens to classical music, and loves ballroom dancing. Kaz prefers bars, local dance halls, and ribald songs. They marry despite their differences, but it is not a marriage made in heaven. Conflicts inevitably arise. Kaz retreats from his troubles by hiring onto a fishing boat and going to sea.
His plans are interrupted when he learns that Daneta is pregnant. Kaz is determined not to abandon his child as his own parents have done, so he returns to Krakow to help care for the baby and to repair the marriage.
Then, bombs start to fall as Germany invades Poland. Kaz takes a train headed for Gydnia in an attempt to reach his naval unit but is turned back by German tanks. He is taken prisoner, beaten, and barely escapes with his life. He returns to Krakow where he joins Charlie in the new resistance movement.
Kaz and Charlie spy on the Germans, smuggle food and arms to the partisans fighting in the nearby Tatras Mountains, rescue a famous Jewish mathematician from prison, ambush trains, and help save many of Poland’s precious querns (stones used to grind flower into bread). But not all goes as planned. Daneta and his child disappear into the German prison system, Charlie is arrested, and Christina joins the partisans in the mountains near Warsaw. Kaz becomes a fugitive and flees into the Tatras Mountains where he continues to spy on the Germans.
Christina joins him, and for a brief time Kaz finds the love for which he has longed. But his life is interrupted, once more. Christina disappears following a battle in the Tatras, and the partisans are forced deeper into the mountains.
Germany is finally pushed back by the allies and slowly retreats from Poland, only to be replaced by Russians. Poland’s new occupiers are even more brutal than the Germans. Kaz has lost everything and soon realizes that his only hope for survival is to stow away on a ship and flee his beloved country.