Falmouth Jewish Congregation will host a free Jewish Book Council author talk by City University of New York professor Mikhal Dekel about her just-published book, “Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey,” Thursday, October 17, at 1 PM. The event is free, accessible and open to the public.

“Tehran Children” is the true story of Polish-Jewish child refugees who escaped the Nazis and found refuge in Iran.

Rather than perish in Nazi-occupied Poland, more than a million Jews escaped east to the Soviet Union. There they suffered extreme deprivation in Siberian gulags and “Special Settlements,” and then, once “liberated,” journeyed to the Soviet Central Asian Republics. The majority of Polish Jews who survived the Nazis outlived the war in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; some of them continued on to Iran. The story of their suffering, both those who died and those who survived, has rarely been told.

Following the footsteps of her father, one of a thousand refugee children who traveled to Iran and later to Palestine, Ms. Dekel fuses memoir with historical investigation in this account of the all-but-unknown Jewish refuge in Muslim lands.

Israeli-born Mikhal Dekel is an English and Middle Eastern studies professor at City University of New York and director of the Simon H. Rifkind Center for the Humanities & Arts. She is also the author of “The Universal Jew: Masculinity, Modernity, and the Zionist Movement.” Her three books and numerous articles, blogs and translations have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation, among others.

Book sales on October 17 will be handled by Eight Cousins Bookstore.

Falmouth Jewish Congregation is at 7 Hatchville Road in East Falmouth.

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