New Horizons is based on the true story of a Jewish family escaping pogroms in the Ukraine, where they lived, and the general slaughter and hunger in Russia during the Revolution of 1917 and the following civil war that lasted through 1920. For safety, the family moved to Harbin in Manchuria with many other Russians.
At the end of the 19th century, Harbin was a small Chinese fishing village. It grew rapidly to 375,000 residents in 1930, with nearly 300,000 of them Chinese. The Jewish population peaked at 20,000 in the 1920s. Japan then invaded Manchuria, capturing Harbin in 1932, and making life harder for the Jewish community.
Jews in Harbin ran a self-administrative community with their own bank, hospital, schools, library, and cemetery.
Part of the family left for the U.S in the late 1920s. The parents left for Palestine in 1930, with the rest following in 1934. The book describes the historical events during this tumultuous period.
Major people and events in New Horizons are real. Some details are told as oral history by the people who lived then, while other information was passed down through the generations.
This is Dr. Alex Bloch’s eighth book. He was born in Germany and came to Palestine as a child. From there he went to the U.S., where he earned a BS from M.I.T. and an MS from Columbia. He eventually moved to Israel and received his Ph.D. in history from Tel-Aviv University, where he also taught. The author has written mainly historical novels after retirement.