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My Own Vineyard

In the best tradition of family sagas, Miriam Akavia tells the story of three generations of a Jewish family in Krakow – from the beginning of the 20th century to the eve of the German occupation of Poland in September 1939. The story of this large middle-class Jewish family is also the story of a deeply-rooted Jewish community and its considerable cultural and material achievements, until disaster strikes and it is wiped off the face of the earth.

At the beginning of the century, Krakow is under Austrian rule. The mother of the family dies, leaving a husband and eight children. A different destiny awaits each of the children, each story reflecting the options which faced Polish Jews at that time. With the outbreak of World War I, the eldest son joins the army and is sent to the Italian front. He returns a broken man, and dies shortly afterwards. The second son marries happily, becomes a successful lumber merchant and a paterfamilias. He veers between Jewish and European culture and regards Poland as his homeland. One of the sisters, a natural rebel, falls in love with a Polish non-Jew. When he abandons her, she becomes a Zionist and immigrates to Eretz Israel. Her older sister is happily married to an old-style religious Jew. Another sister marries an assimilated Jew and is uncertain as to her national identity, while the third falls in love with a Communist. Their prosperous brother has three children – two daughters and a son – who enjoy life in independent Poland between the wars. When the Germans invade Poland, the family misses the last train out and with it the chance to be saved. Most of the family perish in the holocaust. Anya, the youngest daughter, Miriam Akavia’s fictional counterpart, survives. This is the story of her family.

English, French, Polish
Title My Own Vineyard
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Dvir
No. Pages 271pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Karmi Sheli