Lalinka is a ten-year old miss who lives in Vilna, Poland with her household, in 1939. They have a nice house and garden and are really happy. She loves school and is a smart miss. But one twenty-four hours, the Russians, still at peace with the Germans, occupy her boundary line town and collar her household. Lalinka loses all her exposures and must pack her bags with merely her apparels. Her grandma, gramps, father, female parent and her are all captured.
When her uncle comes to the door, her grandma tells the Russian soldiers, “ I ‘ve ne’er seen him earlier. ” This is so he will non besides be captured. The household is taken in a truck and so lined up in the train station. A soldier tells the gramps to acquire in a different line than the household. The household is separated and the gramps gets on a different train.
The household is going by train really easy. The train is for cowss, but it is now their prison. Lalinka says adieu to Vilna, Poland and the train takes them across Russia. The people on the train are shouting. There is merely a hole for a bathroom, and the cowss auto malodors and is really hot. They can merely eat murphy and chou soup and are ne’er let out of the cattle auto. While they stop at a station, they find out that Germany has invaded and the Russians and Germans are at war. After hebdomads of going, the household arrives in Rubtsovsk, Siberia, Soviet Union.
The town of Rubtsovsk is in the Siberian steppe. The steppe is an eternal treeless field. The town is a small town in the center of nowhere. Soldiers take the household with the other captives, largely affluent Judaic households, and they are sent to a mine for being capitalists. Together they all live in crowded schoolhouse, surrounded by eternal level land with exanimate grass on it.
The mine is gypsum, a grey white pulverization used for doing dramatis personaes for hurt soldiers in the war. About 150 captives live in the edifices. There is a average soldier that gives them their occupations. His name is Popravka. The male parent works with Equus caballuss. The female parent uses dynamite in the mine. And Lalinka works on a farm. They work from morning, and Lalinka pulls weeds from the murphies. They miss their missing gramps and their life back in Poland. Here they work all twenty-four hours, slumber on the floor, and unrecorded with the dynamite detonations from the mine. Lalinka ne’er gets to rinse her hair.
Lalinka gets a febrility and is kiping on a straw mattress when Popravka wakes her up and brings everyone out to see a storm coming. Siberian electrical storms are dark skies with violent boom and lightning. It scares everybody, but Poprovka tells them good intelligence, two people can travel to the small town to merchandise at the market. Lalinka and her grandma are selected and Lalinka is really aroused to travel. They take a silk shirt and a Gallic faux pas to merchandise. First the two of them have to walk stat mis over the steppe to the small town. At the small town market they trade the apparels for nutrient. Lanlinka is really happy to acquire some sunflower seeds for a bite for the long walk place.
Fall comes to Siberia and the conditions is shortly really cold. Poland and Russia make peace with one another and the household is set free. They can travel to the small town but they can non travel back to Poland because of the war. But the household moves to the small town and they get occupations where they can do a few rubles, Russian dollars. At first, the household can non populate in the small town and they live outside of town. They do hold a bed for the four of them and the female parent works in the town bakeshop. The male parent works as a bookkeeper at a constuction occupation. Lalinka can non travel to the small town school because they do non populate in the small town yet. She is bored and takes attention of a five twelvemonth old male child and looks for little doomed murphies left over at the market. The household must happen a topographic point to populate in the small town so Lalinka can travel to school. They find a friendly Russian twosome in the small town with an empty room and they move in together.
The first snow comes to Rubtsovsk. Lalinka does n’t hold any boots but is excited to travel to school anyhow. She and her female parent visit the principal ‘s office and Lalinka joins the 5th class. She will larn another linguistic communication, Gallic or German, but there are no books for her so she will hold to portion. On the first twenty-four hours of school the schoolroom is really cold and the kids are really serious. Traveling to school in Siberia is a privilege, but she does run into another miss, Svetlana, who portions her books with Lalinka.
The war in Russia is acquiring worse. Lalinka gets ill and has to remain place from school. The household gets bad intelligence. Lalinka ‘s gramps, Solomin, has died in a labour cantonment in Siberia. The grandma is really sad and leaves their little house and calls in the daylight. Large winter storms come and the snow piles up on everything, covering the house, and hapless Lalinka has nil to make or play with except a few books from the library.
More and more people are coming to Siberian small towns, get awaying the war. The Russian household that Lalinka ‘s household lives with is traveling to hold a babe, so Lalinka and her male parent, female parent, and grandmother hold to travel. It ‘s difficult to happen a place, but they move in with two sisters. All seven of them portion one room and two beds. One twenty-four hours the male parent does n’t come place from work because he is picked up by the secret constabulary and questioned all dark, but he did non desire to go a undercover agent and is sent place.
Lalinka recovers from her unwellness and goes back to school. Lalinka makes friends with some Russian kids. They go to see an American film together. It ‘s the first clip Lalinka has seen electricity since she left Vilna. Lalinka ‘s survey spouse, Svetlana, is covetous of Lalinka ‘s long blonde braided hair, so Lalinka cuts it off and Svetlana becomes her best friend.
Spring comes to Siberia, and the rain and melted snow create clay, covering everything. Lalinka is basking playing with her new friends. When school ends for the summer she goes to work turning murphies for the following winter. The room they are populating in becomes excessively crowded and hot in the summer, so the household looks for a new place once more. This clip they find a hut, a really little house, with no Windowss and a soil floor. But they move in and repair it up.
The summer becomes really hot and kills the murphies in their garden. Typhus, a deathly disease, was killing many villagers, but the summer was n’t all bad. Lalinka goes to see an American film once more and learns all the parts and sings all the vocals. Lalinka spends the summer working on farms and building sites. In September the household gets a missive from their uncle in America. He sends them $ 50, which they exchange and purchase nutrient for the coming winter. Then the male parent gets another missive. This one orders him to fall in a work squad in the war against Germany. The twenty-four hours her male parent leaves to travel back to Europe and work is the worst twenty-four hours of Lalinka ‘s life.
The following winter is truly hard for the household without a male parent. Lalinka starts stealing wood for fuel and seeking for bantam murphies left behind by others. There is a deathly flu epidemic and Lalinka ‘s mot
her about goes brainsick when Lalinka gets the grippe. But, fortunately, it is non excessively serious. It is shortly her birthday and her female parent throws a birthday party to seek and hearten her up. She gets some gifts, which are all nutrient. She likes the nutrient. Her female parent says, “ We laughed today. We were happy over an apple and a piece of meat… Life goes on. Someday it will be better. ”
They get no word from the male parent for months. Finally, he writes a missive stating them that he is all right. The war intelligence is really bad. The Russians are enduring, but the rumours about the Hebrews are even worse. One twenty-four hours, when nutrient supplies are really low, Lalinka takes a 30 ruble measure to school to pay for school tiffins and loses the measure. She does n’t desire to travel place and face her female parent but can non happen it and has to travel place and state her. A few yearss subsequently she decides to work making knitting and embellishment. Her female parent does n’t desire her to, but Lalinka insists. She tells everyone she knows that she will work for murphies or a cup of flour O
r a small spot of milk. She knits a jumper for a adult female ‘s babe and is really proud of the milk and murphies she earns. Still, the winter is difficult and the household has to fire any excess walls in their hut to remain warm.
Lalinka asks a rich adult female, Marya, for work. The adult female hires her to do a jumper utilizing an old machine-made skirt for wool that is soiled and lacerate. She knits all the clip, while analyzing, while reading, while cookery, and in the dark. Finally it is finished and Marya comes to pick it up. But Marya has gotten fatter through the winter and no longer fits the same size as earlier, so hapless Lalinka has to pass an excess two months completing the jumper.
In the winter it is so cold that the kids walk to school keeping each other in a line to protect each other from the air current. But there is one topographic point where she escapes Siberia, the library. She develops a love for Russian novelists and poesy. The hut becomes excessively cold and the household has to travel once more. This clip they move in with one of the managers of the tractor mill, and they take attention of him and are paid in nutrient. His name is Yosif, and he has a wireless so they can listen to intelligence and music.
Lalinka joins a address competition at school. She memorizes a verse form by Pushkin and asks her instructor, a cold adult female, to allow her fall in the competition. She patterns invariably, in forepart of her friends and relations and neighbours. That summer, Yosif ‘s married woman comes back and the household has to travel once more. This clip they live with a immature twosome and a babe. The babe is Lalinka ‘s best audience. On the twenty-four hours of the competition Lalinka picks out her best frock and runs to school, but at school her instructor tells her she must besides have on places. So by the clip Lalinka runs place and back to school in her female parent ‘s places, she is sweaty and tired and hot, but still has to acquire up on phase and perform. She performs severely, the words are at that place but she is excessively tired to give them experiencing. She earns her instructor ‘s regard B
ut another miss wins the competition.
Lalinka goes to a rich adult male ‘s house inquiring for a brace of places until he eventually sells her a brace. There is a new school in the small town for the people working at the mill and Lalinka gets into it and starts analyzing Russian civilization from some really good instructors. She makes some nice friends. Winter is coming once more and, once more, the household does n’t hold adequate nutrient. The female parent ‘s occupation is changed from the bakeshop to a building site where she is paid less for harder work, so Lalinka starts working in a dressmaking store. One twenty-four hours Lalinka is walking place from the store and is caught in a violent storm. The sky is black and the air current blows her sideways. Many people die in these sort of storms but she hears her female parent naming for her and can follow her voice to safety.
That winter Lalinka is 13 old ages old. She becomes more and more Russian and less and less Polish Jew. Her occupation at the modiste ‘s is excessively small so she works in the market selling things. She is selling books, which is hard because she loves them so much, and realizes the people merely want them to turn over coffin nails into. She ca n’t believe that. She loves books and school. She wants to be the editor of the school newspaper.
Even in this land of wretchedness, Lalinka falls in love with a male child named Yuri, but he already has a girlfriend and everyone is covetous of her. Lalinka works at the school newspaper and walks by Yuri ‘s house, but while she is trailing Yuri, another male child, Shurik, is trailing her. There is a costume party at school but she does n’t hold a costume. She asks for a costume at a theatre but no 1 helps her. Finally she borrows a frock and Shurik takes her to the party. Yuri ‘s girlfriend is the queen of the ball, have oning the same
costume that Lalinka wanted to borrow from the theatre.
German captives start geting from the war. The prisons are over-filled and the captives are deceasing like flies, but everyone still hates them. On May 8, 1945, Germany resignations. But the intelligence from Europe was still non good. The Germans had killed 1000000s of Jews in concentration cantonments. The household gets intelligence that everything in their house has been stolen. In August, when the war with the Japanese is over, they receive intelligence from her male parent, stating that he would non return to the small town, and that they should run into him in Poland. He had visited their place in Vilna and says that another adult male, the head of the secret constabulary in Vilna, is populating in it. Lalinka wants to remain in Siberia. She has forgotten her Polish yesteryear, but her female parent has merely one demand, to travel back to Poland. Soon they receive orders to travel back to Poland.
There will be another address competition at school, but this clip Lalinka ca n’t come in because she must travel back. She says adieu to all her friends. She wants to shout but does non. The people from Poland who have survived through the past five old ages meet in the small town for the trip back to Poland. They must once more go by cattle auto but it is non a sad journey like the first. But when they get to Poland they find many Polish people at the station throwing stones at the cattle autos and shouting, “ Travel back to Siberia! You dirty Hebrews! ” All their dreams of traveling place were different than the world. At the station in Vilna, they meet their male parent and clinch and buss and call. In their whole household, merely the four of them have survived the war.