A Light in the Clouds

Margalith and her older sister, Dorica, grow up in a warm, close-knit family in Romania, but at a young age, the girls tragically lose their mother. Just as they are readjusting to a new family life, their childhood abruptly comes to a brutal end — Romania aligns itself with Nazi Germany and antisemitism boils over in their community. In 1941, Romanian soldiers force Margalith and her family from their home and send them on a devastating deportation march to the unknown. Crossing a river takes Margalith into Transnistria, a wretched land between borders, an expanse of thousands of kilometres containing more than a hundred ghettos and camps. This area, controlled by Romania, is where Jews like Margalith and her family are abandoned, left to die in desolation. A ghetto in the town of Murafa provides a bleak shelter where Margalith and her family struggle to keep starvation at bay until help arrives unexpectedly before war’s end. Her journey to freedom and a new homeland provides both opportunity and heartache, and Margalith finds A Light in the Clouds as she endures the darkness of her past to search out the bright future ahead.

Introduction by Gaëlle Fisher

At a Glance
Romania; Transnistria
Death march
Postwar British Mandate Palestine; Israel; South Africa
Arrived in Canada in 1989

124 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Margalith Esterhuizen

About the author

Margalith Esterhuizen was born in Rădăuți, Romania, in 1927. In early 1944, Margalith was released from a ghetto in Transnistria, and in May 1945, she arrived in British Mandate Palestine (now Israel). There, she attended college, worked, and married and started a family. In 1954, Margalith and her husband, Bill, moved to South Africa, where he had grown up, to continue raising their family. Margalith worked in real estate, a field she continued in when she and Bill immigrated to Canada in 1989 to join their children. Margalith lives in Caledon, Ontario.

Dark, menacing, heavy rolling clouds gathered in the sky that fateful day in August 1941. It was as if even the heavens were sad and angry on the day we received orders for our evacuation.