This diverse collection of thirty autobiographical stories from the Melbourne Jewish community adds a human face to the history books. Cyril Cohen’s account of the landing on Gallipoli is taken directly from his diary. Esther Knaster’s story, translated from Yiddish, tells of the first strike to occur, in the face of extreme opposition, in a small town in Poland in 1904. The strikers are children aged nine to sixteen.
In wartime Siberia a fearless gang of two steals anything that can be eaten or sold. They are eight-year-old David Kay and his friend Vanya. Cops, fierce watchdogs and rival gangs are only temporary deterrents. To the west, Berti Burger, aged nineteen, is transported from his native Transylvania to Auschwitz and from there to a number of German armament factories involved in the production of the infamous V1 flying bombs. Thanks to a mysterious senior engineer, Gyula Grosz, there is also a little espionage and sabotage.
It is 1957 in Australia, and Helen Lewkowicz, a survivor of the Holocaust, is befriended by Helga, a German girl, but some confronting truths need to be faced by them both. And Judy Kolt’s story does not resolve itself till the 1990s – her beautiful Aunt Regina has secrets that can only be known after her death.
A kaleidoscopic view of many places and many lives that will grip you till the last page.