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Exiled to Siberia… In June 1942, the Rudomin family is arrested by the Russians. They are “capitalists — enemies of the people.” Forced from their home and friends in Vilna, Poland, they are herded into crowded cattle cars. Their destination: the endless steppe of Siberia. For five years, Ester and her family live in exile, weeding potato fields and working in the mines, struggling for enough food and clothing to stay alive. Only the strength of family sustains them and gives them hope for the future.
Jacque Day says:
“I was nine years old, in 1980 when I discovered The Endless Steppe in a box of yard sale discards dropped off by a neighbor, or perhaps a family member who couldn’t unload it. The price: ten cents, written in pen on masking tape. I ran my hand over the face of a girl on the cover, brushing a light coating of dust away and tried to say the word Steppe, sounding it out the way I still do when I come across a word new and unfamiliar. It was this curiosity—this need to know what is a steppe—that compelled me to enter the pages. My parents had already discussed the Holocaust with me. We talked about such things because history helps the human consciousness remember. But never before had I felt my hands chap and bleed, digging into the frozen ground for food. Never before had I gone so far inside another person’s heart. She was girl about my age, exiled in a frigid desert while her loved ones died at the hands of Hitler’s Third Reich. In so many ways, Esther become my friend, a person who opened a window to a place and time that should never, ever pass out of memory.”