Józef Hen''s memoir is about growing up in a middle-class Jewish family in Warsaw during the 1920s and 1930s, up through the first few months of the German occupation
Nowolipie Street, where Hen lived as a child and young adult, is both the happy background and the source material for his narration. The story of his youth is vividly presented as remembered and retold by Hen in loving detail. This world is shattered when Germany invades Poland. The author and his family live through the horror of the incessant bombardment of Warsaw and the chaos of the next few months. Slowly but inexorably, the noose begins to tighten around the Jewish population. Eventually, the sixteen-year-old author makes the agonizing decision to leave his parents and flee his country.