A Faraway Island is the first of four novels I have written about Stephie and Nellie. These novels are based on interviews with about a dozen of the real refugees who shared their childhoods, their letters, and their diaries, as well as on the research of Ingrid Lomfors, a Jewish historian in Sweden who explored the destinies of the five hundred refugee children. I have also listened to my own parents’ stories about what it was like to live as Jewish teenagers in Sweden during World War II. I made journeys myself, to Vienna and to the Theresienstadt concentration camp near Prague, to gather my own impressions. Some of the events in the books are real, others are what might have been. Stephie and Nellie are fictional characters, but I have borrowed elements of real human beings in creating them-including myself and my nearest and dearest.
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