An Improbable Journey: A True Story of Courage and Survival During World War II by Susan Schenkel, Ph.D.

An Improbable Journey: A True Story of Courage and Survival During World War II by Susan Schenkel, Ph.D.

A wealthy, prominent German-Jewish family was torn apart, first by suicide, then by Hitler. At sixteen, Siddi, the youngest, was left on her own in Nazi Germany. Through an extraordinary chain of events, she found herself in Central Asia. Leon, a handsome Polish Jew, worked his way up from poverty to become a successful salesman. Through an equally extraordinary chain of events, he also found himself in Central Asia.

Siddi and Leon met and fell in love in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Together, they struggled to survive hunger, homelessness, deadly epidemics, a black market economy, and Soviet police harassment. After the war, they managed to get from Central Asia to a displaced persons camp in Southern Germany. Along the way, they had a baby. Incredibly, in the DP camp, this Jewish couple developed an enduring friendship, which defied the hatreds of the time, with a German woman and put their baby girl into her care.

An Improbable Journey presents the historical context and provides many vignettes that describe Siddi and Leon’s different worlds and the people in them: the sister who met King Edward VIII; the puritanical daughter of a brothel owner; the Jewish best friend who survived living underground in Berlin. An Improbable Journey is the true story of many remarkable people and the courage, love, friendship, and hope that keeps the human race going

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