Publication Date: November 3, 2022
Tragedy disrupts the idyllic life for the Kohanow family in 1939. Living on their small dairy farm in Poland the Jewish family immediately becomes embroiled in the tragic events of World War II. Sent to separate prisons, the family loses track of each other but the only child, Jozef, survives the holocaust. After the war he begins rebuilding his life in Poland and eventually immigrates to America.
In Wisconsin Jozef marries and raises a fine family of his own. But the after affects of the war trail him there and have a significant impact on his grandson, Caleb. The young boy grows and develops a vengeful attitude toward those who mistreated his grandfather years earlier in Germany. After the death of Jozef, Caleb decides it is now up to him to satisfy the demands of justice.
This gripping story follows Caleb’s early life and brings the reader to the point where Caleb is ready to carry forth the rightful sentence. But conflicts enter Caleb’s mind and he must decide the proper step to take. The choice will certainly affect the young man for years to come.
A young Jewish boy wrestles with the story of his grandfather’s painful past in the aftermath of World War II.
For the Kohanow family, Jozef’s survival of the Holocaust impacts three generations in spite of being safe in the United States. Author David Sebra tells the story of young Caleb’s determination to seek justice in The Yellow Baton.
The story begins in 1993 as Caleb is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. In response to repeated questions, Caleb’s father tells the story of Papa Jozef’s immigration to the United States.
From there, the story flashes back to 1938 in Poland to tell Jozef’s story. He and his parents were falsely imprisoned on a complaint by a disgruntled former worker. Separated, the family loses contact, and only Jozef survives the German prison camp.
The stories of beatings and mistreatment fire up a spirit of revenge in Caleb. After Jozef’s death, Caleb starts a journey that takes him to the doorstep of the German soldier responsible for many of his grandfather’s torment.
From a content perspective, the author has a good story to tell. His message of forgiveness is powerful. However, the delivery of the story needs to be polished.
As strong as the story’s theme is, it is offset by a need to make the dialog more natural. As it is, there is a mechanical, almost formulaic type of approach that takes away from the storyline. There’s confusion between past and present tense within conversations. Additionally, there are grammatical errors that a good editor could easily remedy.
The Yellow Baton highlights the ripple effect that one event can have on multiple generations.
David Sebra grew up in Richmond, Virginia and has over 300 years of heritage in the Commonwealth. As a child he had an aversion to both reading and writing. That gradually changed when he went to college.
He earned a BS degree in engineering and spent many years in the defense and aerospace industry. David transformed into an accomplished technical writer during that career and then turned his focus to teaching. He is a former Brigham Young University, Idaho Online Instructor.
Now writing is his passion and he has published two works in 2022. There is certainly more to follow. David currently resides in Southern California with his wife of 50 years.
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