This is a true story about two boys, Istvan and Frici, who live two kilometres but worlds apart in Romania. One is Catholic, one is Jewish; one grows up on a farm, the other in the affluent part of town. Life is routine and secure, the future seems predictable and each boy knows his place. Yet when the Second World War breaks out, the familiar world with its clear divisions disintegrates. Families are torn apart as men are forcibly recruited to fight in the war. As the country comes under Nazi, then later communist control, people are held hostage to an ever - changing political landscape, punctuated by military interventions and fluctuating allegiances. As the chance of a peaceful future becomes more remote, with a totalitarian regime in control, Frici and his brother, already facing persecution as Jews, escape across the border with the help of people smugglers, the authorities in pursuit. Istvan, just 16 years old, is transported to work in a Russian gulag before his chance at freedom comes, too. In their parallel journeys, both young men leave their families and beloved homeland to an uncertain future for a shot at freedom in Australia, sacrificing all that is familiar. Facing the challenge of building a new life, they even change their names in an effort to belong. This epic book, spanning two continents, recounts the story of three generations of two families whose lives unexpectedly intersect in their adopted country. Beautifully capturing the loss faced when war dislocates families, it also tells of the struggles and challenges of starting anew and adapting to a different way of life. With Just One Suitcase serves as a tribute to the courage and resilience of two men who bear the scars of war, and face adversity without surrendering their optimism for the future.