"Lonek's Journey"


Finally, the book you've awaited is now available!

By popular demand, Dorit Whiteman has written an inspiring and exciting book for boys and girls based on her book, "Escape Via Siberia."  Now children can read about Lonek, an eleven year old brave and resourceful boy, as he survives against all odds.  They will be encouraged to have hope, be courageous, and never give up.


"Lonek's Journey: The True Story of a Boy's Escape to Freedom"

Dorit Bader Whiteman

Star Bright Books

"Lonek's Journey" is the true story of an eleven year old Jewish boy during the Holocaust. He 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.  Not 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.


Reviews from Professionals

"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 author of
"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 York City

 "'Lonek's Journey' 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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