From her window, Ilse sees the Nazi soldiers parading through her street. Ilse realizes that the Jewish are not wanted in Austria, when she and the family maid go shopping. When their band account is frozen, Ilse’s father decides they must sell some of their possessions. Her father then escapes from Austria by saying he will go gather goose feathers. Her father gets visa’s for Ilse, her mother and brother. Unfortunately the Nazi’s have shut the border and the family has to reroute their trip. When they finally arrive in Lithuania, Ilse is reunited with her father. Herr Lehmann smuggles the family over the border to Latvia. Fredi, Ilse’s brother can get a visa to America is he goes to boarding school. Their parents make him go. Ilse’s father has been trying to get visas for the rest of the family with no success. Finally the family is granted the visas. They have to travel through Kobe, Japan. Once they arrive in Kobe, they board a ship that will take the refugees to their new home in America. Ilse’s family settles in Portland, Oregon. An organization that helps the Jewish find jobs, offers to buy a grocery store for the family to run. After much consideration, Ilse’s parents agree. Later they enroll Ilse in school, which causes her much distress because she speaks no English. After living in the United States for the required five years, the family applied for citizenship. Ilse changes her name to Alice because it sounds more “American.” She hopes changing her name to Alice will make her upcoming high school years easier than her grade school. After graduating from high school, life begins to be more comfortable for her.
Many people know something about the Jewish Holocaust, but you hardly ever hear about a family who escapes by moving to the United States. It was refreshing to read a story about a Jewish family that had a relatively happy ending.