Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Surviving the Siberian Steppe

Esther Hautzig (1930-2009) first published The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia in 1968.  It is an autobiographical account of her family's struggle to survive in a Soviet gulag during World War II.  Our book trailer elaborates.

MPL Book Trailer #178
The Endless Steppe, by Esther Hautzig

Growing up in a middle class Jewish family in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), was comfortable and culturally stimulating for the Rudomin family.  All this changed when Soviet troops invaded the region in 1939.  In June, 1941, when the author was 10 years old, Esther and her family were arrested as "capitalist enemies of the USSR," and they were herded aboard railway cars and shipped to a forced labor camp in Siberia.  Life there was beyond grim and despairing.  It was a daily struggle to survive the hardships of the northern Asian steppe.  Esther's survival depended upon her close-knit family and the strong ties to the Jewish community incarcerated together.  It is an unforgettable read.  The book is available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

The book is targeted toward 'tween readers (ages 10-12), although young adults (ages 13-18) and grown-ups will surely learn valuable historical lessons about the brutalities inflicted upon innocent victims during the Stalinist regime.  Atrocities like this still happen, so it's important to study the historical record and learn why and how they occur so we may be prepared to do what we can to prevent their repetition.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

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