Jan, a young boy, bruises his knees and legs as he hides from his sisters. It’s a game he will need to master as his life takes a wrenching turn in 1942 Czechoslovakia. On the next day, one he’ll never forget, Nazi soldiers take revenge on Jan’s hometown for the act of a rebel. Now Jan must silently watch his father, uncle, two friends, and the rest of the town’s adult males be executed by gunfire.
Jan is then separated from his sisters and sent to several places that are like concentration camps. He vows to escape and reunite his family, but the journey to realize his dream is one no child should endure. Meanwhile, Jan’s sister, Helena, has been adopted by a German couple whose daughter died and whose son has been reported missing in action. But that isn’t the real truth about Wilhelm, a deserter who returns to tell his parents about the atrocities he and his colleagues have committed. Jan, in the meantime, eventually escapes his captors and joins the partisans fighting back against the Nazi occupiers.
His story, as well as the story of his siblings and acquaintances, is one filled with constant suffering, fear and hope, the latter enabling them to prevail against the horrors mercilessly committed on the most innocent, fragile victims of all, the children. The Search is an important piece of historical fiction about what happened to so many non-Jews during WWII and one that must be told and never forgotten.