Passport to Reprieve
As seventeen-year-old Sonia prepares to leave her childhood home in Tarnów, Poland, to study journalism in Paris, antisemitism is on the rise. It is spring 1939, and her father is leaving for Canada to set up a new life there for his family. Stranded in Canada when war breaks out in Europe, he is frantic to reunite with them. Sonia, caught in the grips of the Nazi regime, suddenly finds herself responsible not only for herself but for her mother and younger sister too. Sonia’s father works feverishly from Canada to get them out to safety, even managing to become a citizen of neutral Nicaragua, sending Nicaraguan passports to his family. In Tarnów, Sonia faces the Gestapo again and again, armed with these documents as anti-Jewish laws escalate and the daily violence intensifies. As Sonia bravely tries to shield her family from the atrocities in the Tarnów ghetto, she feels torn between temporary triumphs and an agonizing sense of futility. In the face of deportation, Sonia’s wait for a reprieve turns ominous. Will her determination and deception be enough to save her and her family?
Introduction by Natalia Aleksiun