Journey" is the true
story of an eleven year old Jewish boy during the
survives an amazing escape from Poland into Russian territory,
deportation to Siberia, an exodus to the south of Russia, and an
extended evacuation with almost a thousand Jewish orphans on a kindertransport, where he struggles with
hunger and destitution. He reaches Palestine by way of
Persia, the Persian Gulf, Karachi, the Gulf of Omar, Yemen and
finally Egypt. His determination and resourcefulness can
serve as an inspiration to all children.
only is this book an important part of Holocaust history, but an
inspiring adventure with a happy ending, so exciting and compelling that children
(and even adults) will not be able to put the book down.
"Young readers will be fascinated by this little known and touching
story of the dramatic rescue from Russian prison camps
of a young boy, together with almost 1000 orphans, and
their courageous journey to freedom." William B.
Helmreich, Professor of Sociology and Judaic Studies,
CUNY Graduate Center of City College of New York and
"Against All Odds"
"My language arts class read and was riveted by
Lonek's Journey. This vitally important facet of
history in the 1940's needs to be made available to
children of all ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Whiteman
brilliantly does so with this eye-opening page-turner
that puts a human face on history. I highly recommend
this book to all young adults." Laura Conway.
English Teacher. The Louis Armstrong Middle School, New
is a well-written and moving story of courage and
survival in a 1940's Russian prisoner camp and a long
journey to safety." Dr. William L. Shulman,
Director; Holocaust Resource Center and Archives;
President, Association of Holocaust Associations,
Queensborough Community College
"Gr 5-8. Through the
astonishing journey of one Polish Jewish boy, this true
escape story brings a seldom-told part of World War II
history close. Lonek is 11 when the Nazis invade
his Polish hometown in 1939. First he hides in a
hole under the stable of friendly neighbors; then his
family makes the dangerous escape to Russian-occupied
Poland, from where they are deported in a horrific
three-week crossing to the harsh Siberian slave-labor
camps. But following a deal with the British,
Stalin lets them go, and for two years Lonek travels on
foot, by train, and by ship, until, with 1,000 other
orphans, reaches safety in Palestine. The
political convolutions are not easy to follow, but the
arbitrariness of the boy's survival is an integral part
of the story, which is told in short, stark chapters,
each ending on a note of suspense ('But the night
brought new dangers.' 'A miracle was about to occur.').
Always there is the reality of anti-Semitism, not only
from the Nazis but also from many Polish refugees.
In the most heartbreaking scene Lonek's mother abandons
him at the orphanage door, to save him. With
occasional black-and-white photos, clear maps, and
extensive historical notes, this is an important
addition to history collections." Hazel Rochman
" Eleven-year-old Lonek's
experiences as a Jewish child in the early years of WWII
are almost unbelievably horrible: Forced to flee Poland
in 1939 after the German invasion, he and his family are
transported to a Siberian gulag, where they remain for a
year, barely surviving unspeakable conditions.
Upon their release, Lonek's anguished mother brings him
to an orphanage because that seems his only chance to
live. What follows is the boy's harrowing, solo
two-year journey that takes him to other parts of the
Soviet Union, then to Iran, India, around the Middle
East and finally, to safety in Palestine in 1942.
Readers will marvel at how anyone, let alone a child,
could endure all this and will cheer as Lonek reaches
freedom at last." Kirkus Reviews.
" Gr 5-8 When Lonek was 11,
his family tried to evade capture by the Nazis by going
into hiding, first to dig a hole under a remote barn and
then to a Russian-occupied city where they hoped to
blend in with its citizens. Fatefully, they were
discovered and deported to Siberia, barely surviving
weeks on a crowded freight train. Lonek became the
resourceful one at the cold and stark gulag, finding
ways to supplement the family's food supply with fish
and berries. When the prisoners were freed and
told to find their own way home, his family settled in a
Russian city, but were so poor that his mother left him
on the doorstep of an orphanage. Through
diplomatic efforts, the orphans were sent to Palestine
where they were welcomed and provided with caregivers
and education. An afterword tells briefly about
Lonek's adult life, his parents' remarkable survival,
and their reunion with their son 10 years later.
Historical facts are added in small doses as they relate
to the protagonist's situation, and offer insight to the
plight of Jewish refugees. The story is written
from Lonek's point of view and filled with wide-eyed
wonder of each new circumstance and the optimism of a
child, although captioned photographs and a glossary
remind readers how lucky he was to have survived." Vicki
Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
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