Eleven year old Lonek is a typical boy when his story begins, playing soccer, teasing his 3 year old brother, enjoying wonderful meals with his family and complaining about too much homework. However, this is a Jewish family living in Poland in 1939 and their happy life is about to change. After Hitler invades Poland, his secret police begin rounding up people that do not fit the Aryan ideal. Luckily, the family has enough money to hide in the country, and eventually settle in the Russian side of Poland.
Shortly after, Lonek's family is one of the thousands that Stalin's police round up in the middle of the night, and send to a gulag in Siberia. They don't know what is worse: the subzero winters, boiling summers or constant starvation. One year later, Stalin releases many of the inmates for political reasons and the family is to follow Colonel Anders back to Poland. By this time, they are so starved and weakened that Lonek's Mother makes the hard decision to leave him in an orphanage, where at least, he will be fed. There, it is decided the numerous orphans will be sent to Palestine. Another long dangerous journey ensues and after two years, and traveling over 12,500 miles, Lonek is welcomed by the people in Palestine. This is a true, exciting, and heartbreaking little known story of the over a thousand Jewish children who were rescued and sent on to a better life in Palestine.
Date read: 2/25/2013