The author, a Holocaust survivor, describes the fate of a 16-year-old girl trying to survive in the ghetto alone - her parents have been deported in one of the round-ups (aktzias) and her sister has died of typhus. The story of Alexandra, known as Alla, is authentic and touching, written in simple, economical language and with great restraint. The chapters in her life consist of images of her past at home with her parents, where she lacked nothing, and life in the ghetto, where nothing remains of the past, except for memories. Sometimes people she knew in the past reappear, and the renewed encounter heightens her despair and sense of helplessness and her feeling that death is clawing at her. The coarse boy to whom she once lent a notebook for his sister has become a member of the Jewish ghetto police and treats her harshly as she stands in line for food; a young student of her grandfather, who was a respected scholar, loses his mind; the revered professor of music is revealed to be an old and depressed man, completely spiritless; and her mother`s friend appears as a ghostly figure, a living corpse. Alla is filled with hatred for her because she is still alive while Alla`s mother has been deported to her death. But love blossoms in the ghetto, too: Alla meets Bolek, who has had his eye on her since she was little, and he promises to marry her when they are released from the ghetto. But Bolek is shot dead. Her friend Saraleh also dies, and Alla promises herself after the funeral that she will live so that she can tell the coming generation about those who are gone.