When the Bolshevik Revolution erupts in 1917 persecuting Jews, murdering Mama's family, she and her six-year-old daughter, Raizle, flee to Odessa where her family is again attacked. Mama decides to leave for America to join her husband who left earlier. Sympathetic Christians assist them, but along the way to Romania, Mama is raped. Traveling to the Rothschild House in Paris, the train leaves without them and they board a cattle car for the trip. Paris is a time of stability and happiness while waiting for their visa to Cuba. During a turbulent ocean journey in steerage, Raizle develops the mumps and is allowed to remain in first class. In Cuba, Raizle creates relationships with shopkeepers and becomes fluent in Spanish. Raizle, a precocious and curious child narrates the story of their five-year journey, expressing feelings of anger and insecurity when repeatedly wrenched from people she grows to love and trust. Mama, a strong, determined woman deals with a multitude of life and death situations, driven by the desire to take Raizle to a land of safety.
This report prepared by Bettina Gantsweg