Six Thousand Miles to Home
Meet Suzanna, a thirteen-year-old who escapes Nazi tyranny in Poland with her seventeen-year-old brother and their mother, only to be deported to a Soviet forced-labor camp in the inhospitable wilds of Russia. The family’s unexpected odyssey covers six thousand miles, from western Poland to Persia via Central Asia. Arriving in Tehran as refugees with no home, no money, no belongings—and with their family dispersed across the world—Suzanna and her mother discover generosity and hope.
Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the children of Suzanna and author Kim Dana Kupperman, the family’s story is recounted in a new historical novel, set during one of the Holocaust’s lesser-known episodes, the deportation and imprisonment of 1.5-2 million Polish citizens in the Soviet Gulag. Six Thousand Miles to Home: A Novel Inspired by a True Story of World War II (forthcoming October 2018), is published by Legacy Edition Books, an independent publishing imprint administered by the nonprofit The Suzanna Cohen Legacy Foundation. Proceeds from sales of the book shall support the organization’s timely mission—to collect, preserve, publish, and teach the life stories of men and women who marshaled exemplary resilience in the face of forced displacement and to honor the bravery and generosity of those who provided compassion and assistance to survivors, refugees, exiles, and persecuted peoples.
Six Thousand Miles to Home tells the astonishing saga of this family as a gripping historical novel. “I have tried to render real people, most of them lost now, by imagining them in particular historical and social landscapes,” says Kupperman, a long-time journalist, essayist, and literary editor. “Specifically, I have focused on how the women and men in this story might have thought about and responded to the urgencies that unfolded in real time during their lives. Of course it is impossible to accurately depict the emotions and reactions of others, especially when a few recorded memories exist of a particular story set during a disturbing historical period.” To that end, Kupperman explains, she relied on facts from historical accounts and analyses, personal, autobiographical, and fictional narratives (told in print, graphic, and film media), the genealogical records pertaining to the Kohn, Eisner, and Cohen families, and recordings and interviews of family members.
As Holocaust survivors pass away, such stories demand attention, Kupperman says, because “the full impact of the Shoah cannot be fully known because so many people’s stories have been lost. Many of them will never be told, but some are still available, waiting to be inscribed. It has been a singular blessing to be involved in recording this one.”
Kim Dana Kupperman is an award-winning author and founding editor of Welcome Table Press. For more information, please visit www.kimdanakupperman.com