The story

cover-revised-7-7-1When Sophica was abruptly separated from her father as a toddler, she found a haven in Grandmother Gitté. But one sunny July day, when she was six years old, Gendarmeries marching and shouting in the streets stopped her dreamy childhood and her hopes to go to school and to be a big girl like her sister. She was deported together with her mother and the whole of the Jewish community of Mihaileni. On foot, through icy fields, they arrived to eastern Ukraine, a strip of land called Transnistria. Death, illness, brutality, shame, became her daily scenes. Sophica suffered hunger and fear but kept her hopes and sanity, albeit losing her sister and her father and witnessing her mother being brutally attacked. She survived Typhus and starvation by being strong and quiet. She learnt not to ask questions and to work hard.

Herman was a jolly little boy who didn’t care much needing to wear the yellow star and being forbidden from school. He continued playing outside with his friends while his father and brother were sent to a labour camp. At the age of 14, when the war ended, he joined a Jewish youth movement and embarked on a ship to the Promised Land. However, their journey was interrupted and they were taken to a British detention camp in Cyprus.

Sophica and Herman were given new names, Shulamit and Tzvi. They met and made a home in Israel. Shulamit/Sophica never mentioned her sad childhood, but the essence of the past found its ways out. Sixty five years after those events, her daughter comes across a family secret and starts asking questions, inducing Shulamit to break her silence and become again the frightened little Sophica.