About the Book
A pious Jewish Russian couple and their 4 children experience their whole way of life overturned one day when the idyllic river resort town in which they live is attacked by enemy forces in the second year of World War I. Suddenly homeless and with little more than the clothes on their backs, they are relocated to the big city of Vilnius where they are domiciled with 40 other destitute families in a converted brothel under German occupation. Events that follow during the years of the war and after are witnessed through the eyes of their youngest child, Benzy, who courageously perseveres as he and his friends and relatives are forced to endure horrific conditions of poverty, prejudice, destruction and starvation while a deadly typhoid epidemic is raging on the streets and brutal mistreatment is meted out by German and later Polish authorities. Blessed with the support of a strong religious community and their own indomitable spirit, the family somehow sustains itself despite seeing fellow refugees succumb. They even manage to find and take some comfort in brief moments of laughter, love, and happiness as with determined willpower their primary goal remains to survive.
About the Author
Raised in a rough barrio of East L.A. in the 1950s and 60s, where the only places of refuge were the school library and the safety of his home, teenage Paul Frank had two daily choices, to go outside and fight or stay inside and write. That’s how he developed a love for composing stories and poems. He earned an MA in English from UCLA and a doctorate in Education from USC. Listening to tales his father told about being a refugee boy on the Eastern Front of World War I, he promised to one day turn those harrowing adventures into a novel. In a 40 year career as an educator, he taught at the secondary school level in California and then at a Native American community college in New Mexico. Never forgetting his promise, he travelled to Lithuania in 1997 where he spent several weeks walking the streets of Vilnius and Druskininkai. After diligent and comprehensive research, he wrote this book covering 7 years in his dad’s life between 1915 and 1922. Now retired, Dr. Frank lives with his wife, Connie, in Maryland Heights, Missouri.