Against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in pre–World War II Poland, one Jewish girl sees an opportunity for her family to escape to Palestine.
In 1936 the Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman got permission to form an orchestra in the British Mandate of Palestine, the country that would become Israel after the war. By obtaining papers for his musicians and their families, he rescued 1,000 European Jews who’d otherwise have likely been murdered by the Nazis. Anna, a fictional Krakow schoolgirl, will be saved by Huberman’s orchestra. She loves her father, a clarinetist with the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Huberman’s planned ensemble is a spark of hope in the escalating horror and darkness—for Anna’s already witnessed property destruction, beatings, and segregation against local Jews. Though her father initially refuses to leave Poland, Anna secretly writes to Mr. Huberman and obtains an audition for him. Thank goodness, Papa’s skill obtains him a seat in the new Palestine Symphony Orchestra, and despite difficulties, Anna finds herself in Tel Aviv. The Arab-Jewish-British conflict, addressed simplistically, has little impact on Anna’s life; she struggles more with her study of Hebrew and learning to haggle.
This straightforward tale of some lesser-known aspects of the time period provides a welcome spark of optimism. (author’s note, sources) (Historical fiction. 10-12)