This is the story of children caught up in the cogwheels of time at a turning point in history. World War II has broken out. Roughly one hundred Estonian orphans are evacuated to Western Siberia in Russia. The times are frightening, idealistic, deadly, and criminal, but for them it’s just childhood.
I happened to meet the characters of this book at a time when the people of Estonia were gathering at night to sing for freedom, when the land was pregnant with the promise of freedom, and the media was boiling over with politics. My sixth sense said that the unusual experiment these children went through was something that could not just be passed by. I recorded and took note of everything, regardless of the fact that the story seemed like it was buried under so much history, a dusty remnant of the past. The time wasn’t quite right enough for recollections. Were these children saved or repressed, taught or brainwashed, persuaded or forced?
In war – not in battles, but in the state of war – you can become a hero, you can remain true to yourself, but you can also turn into a villain. Terrible times can lead not only to self-sacrifice but also to atrocity.
At the same time, there is plenty of humor in this story as well. After all, without humor what happened would be impossible to stomach.