Book Showcase: Sherry V. Ostroff
Sherry V. Ostroff's title "The Lucky One" came in at number 4 in the Best Indie Books Title of 2017.
Synopsis: Ita was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. The place, the former Pale of Settlement, was a large swath of land in western Russia where Jews were forced to live for centuries. The year was 1918. The last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his wife and five children were executed. With no leadership, the Russian people found themselves in the midst of a civil war that brought about great political and social upheaval. This ensued for years and the entire world felt the repercussions. Three great armies fought for government control, and Ita and the Jews of the Pale, were the recipients of murderous waves of anti-Jewish riots called pogroms. The pogroms descended on each shtetl, or town. Homes were burned and Jews were robbed, raped and murdered. The only chance for Ita's survival was escape. But that was illegal and deadly. In Ita's own words, paired with the historical and cultural background to provide context, Ita describes her privileged life in Russia, the bloody pogroms, and her harrowing escape. Each roadblock she experienced, including a new country that did not want her, she faced with resolve and proved why Ita was the lucky one.
Chapter 4 - Conditions in Russia by Ita Pogrebiski (in her own words)
The peasants around where my mother lived came running into town telling the Jewish people that a band of murderers were approaching, and they were mostly killing the Jews. They had a meeting with the Jewish men and told them that the Jews in this community had nothing to fear. They, the Christians, had been living peacefully with the Jews. They had been selling their crops to the Jews and for years they made a living, and they were not going to let them down. The Christians were now not going to let the bands through unless they were going to kill them first. These Christian kept their promise and the bands changed their direction, and not one Jew was hurt. Then it happened again. Other bands were heading to town. Every town they passed thus far, they killed and raped and robbed and burned houses down. But, the same group of Christians, the very same ones that saved the Jews before, told the Jews that again they would help them and save them from destruction. It was their duty to do this being that they were such good neighbors. Who else would they sell their crops to? They advised that the women and children to stay at their homes and the men should gather at the wall of the sugar factory. The Jewish men should show up in strength, every man and youth should be there. Since the peasants knew all the Jews in town they saw which ones were missing and they sent some men to go find them so all could be together. A few men were not found, for instance, a few hid in the high over-grown corn fields. My uncle hid in an outhouse. He let himself down into the mire. The rest of the Jews stood at the sugar factory wall and the Christians stood in front and were ready to deal with the pogromishchakis. The bands came with fast running horses and swords to the group of Christians and Jews. The Christians group parted and let the bands rush in on the unarmed Jews standing against the wall and the band decapitated each and every Jew and my father was one of them. When my mother heard the screaming and crying she knew what was happening. She gathered her children and hid in a cellar deep under the ground. The house above them was burned down, as were many others, and also the home of her father. The maid of her mother refused to hide. She said this band was for the working class and since she was a maid, she was safe, but when the band started breaking up and stealing, she started to scream, so they killed her also. On the day my mother became a widow she had three children to care for. Her house was burned to the ground and an old father and mother to care for. All the money was gone. All that there was, was gone.