I was drawn in to the story, The Third Daughter by Talia Carner, and was fortunate enough to attend a book group discussion with the author present. The book explores a dark time in history for the Jews and it was wonderful to learn about it through the novel as well as from Talia Carner’s stories during our book talk.
This historical fiction novel takes place in the late 1800s and early 1900s where young teenaged Batya and her family are living in Russia. In order to escape poverty and with the hope of settling in the United States, Batya’s father married her off to Yitzik Moskowitz, a seemingly respectable, wealthy Jewish man visiting the Ukraine. He agreed to wait two years to marry young Batya, but insisted she travel with him for the time being. Once she turned 16, they would marry and settle in the United States, then they would bring over the rest of Batya’s family, to escape the progroms and anti-semitism in Russia, and be all together again. But sadly, this did not happen and Moskowitz was not who he appeared to be.
In The Third Daughter, Moskowitz abandons her, and Young Batya is shipped out all alone. Cruelly abused and violated on a trip across the Atlantic, she arrives in emotional and physical distress and is forced to work in a brothel in Argentina. At 14 years old she is caught up in legal prostitution and sexual slavery run by a Jewish criminal group called Zwi Migdal. The Third Daughter is the story of Batya’s enslavement and how she and the other young girls at the brothel survive. With little control over how she is physically treated by the men who visit the brothel, Batya is happy to be selected to dance the Tango with one of the johns, allowing her to reclaim her body during the time she is dancing. All the young prostitutes suffered greatly and lost dignity in life, yet they were able to create a prostitute cemetery which gave them strength and hope, knowing they could ensure their purity in death. With the ongoing dream of bringing her family to safety, Batya is faced with the dangerous opportunity to help bring down the prostitution network. This fictional story of Batya was heartbreaking, showing the strength of young girls trapped in this unwanted lifestyle and eye opening regarding Jewish organized crime at the turn of the century.
A Little Background
In 1995, author Talia Carner attended an International Women’s Conference in Beijing where she learned about horrible acts against women. This is where the seed for her story was planted and she struggled with exposing a dark part of Jewish history, but the personal need to write about it never dissipated and The Third Daughter was published in 2019.
The Jewish organized crime group, Zwi Migdal operated in Buenos Aires for 70 years, luring young girls into legal prostitution with false promised of jobs, careers and better lives. There were over 1000 members and in the 1920s, 400+ pimps controlled 2000 brothels and 4000 women. The inhumane group run by Jews also supported Yiddish theater and donated money to build Jewish synagogues. (Corrupt people and businesses often are philanthropic as well.) Ultimately, Zwi Migdal was brought down by the Brazilian Jewish community.
Talia Carner is a wonderful speaker and often shares her knowledge at book groups and public events. I highly recommend reading her book and finding the opportunity to learn from her. Visit Talia Carner’s website for more information about The Third Daughter, her other novels and sex trafficking.
About the Author:
Formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women economic forums, novelist Talia Carner’s heart-wrenching suspense novels, PUPPET CHILD, CHINA DOLL and JERUSALEM MAIDEN and HOTEL MOSCOW have garnered rave reviews and awards. As each touches a social issue never explored before, they are often the choice of reading groups in the USA and abroad.
THE THIRD DAUGHTER, a novel about tango and sex in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s, was published by HarperCollins in September 2019.
The story is a frightening journey into the New World of the late 1800s, told by a trusting young woman lured from Russia and forced into prostitution in Buenos Aires. As she finds courage in the face of danger and hope in hours of despair, THE THIRD DAUGHTER struggles to free herself from bondage while bringing down the powerful pimps’ union. The novel is shocking evocation of time and place that removes the veil of secrecy off a shameful chapter in Jewish history.
Carner’s addictions include chocolate, ballet, hats—and social justice.
The author keynotes dozens of events on her 2019-2020 book tour. Please check www.TaliaCarner.com.
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