1939, nine-year-old Piri is happy to spend her spring vacation at her grandmother Babi’s house in the Ukrainian countryside. There, Piri freely enjoys the meadows, rivers and wildflowers. In her busy household, Babi makes sure her granddaughter continues to speak Yiddish and observe the Sabbath. But there is a darker side to this paradise. The Hungarian soldiers riding through the beautiful landscape are a threat not only to the Ukrainians but also to Jews. And when Piri returns to Hungary, she hears rumors of the ghettos.
Because she is Jewish, 14 year-old Piri has been held prisoner in Nazi concentration camps for two years. She is freed when Bergen-Belsen is liberated, but she is very ill and has deep psychological scars. In a voice full of innocence and courage, Piri tells how she got through the first years after the Holocaust.
Piri is a city girl, but every year she goes to visit her grandmother Babi on her farm in the Ukrainian village of Komjaty. There is a lot that Piri finds strange, even scary, in Komjaty, such as the ghost in the form of a rooster who supposedly haunts the cemetery! But Piri loves country life: making corn bread, eating plums right off the tree, venturing out with her grandmother in the early morning to hunt for mushrooms. And during her time with Babi, Piri learns lessons that will stay with her all of her life, about the importance of honest hard work, of caring for the less fortunate, and of having the courage to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. In these nine stories, Aranka Siegal paints a tender portrait of the love between a grandmother and granddaughter, inspired by her own experiences with her grandmother.