Journey to the Promised Land

Dennis R McLeod

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    1960s & '70s,1940s & '50s












    With our time in Israel and the study I have completed, plus all the people we have met while in Israel. I have put together a historical fictional story built around the lives of holocaust survivors and the years after the war up to the mid 70s. Not a true story but based on historical events.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+,18-34

    Target Gender: Universal


    Europe - England - Israel

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher


    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    The family are living in war torn Russia and can see the persecution occurring and know they will have to leave. With the terrors of the war and its aftermath as a background they face an uncertain future as they leave all they have behind and head for Poland and on to England.

    Ending Description

    The Yom Kippur war has come to an end and once more the future outlook is uncertain as things are not straight back to normal. With wounded still recovering and the question about prisoners of war, what does the future hold. But finally being able to gather as a family, there is hope for the future.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Simon Labosky

    Age: Starts at 10 and goes to 31

    Gender: Male

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Decisive,Confident,Obedient,Religious

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Joseph

    Age: Labosky

    Gender: Male

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Religious,Aspiring,Confident,Decisive,Flexible,Educated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Rose

    Age: Young adult

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Charming,Religious,Confident,Faithful,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dina

    Age: Middle age

    Gender: Female

    Role: logical

    Key Traits: Religious,Aspiring,Charming,Confident




    In the aftermath of World War II, Simon and his parents leave their small town in Russia to escape Stalin's oppression and persecution. Facing an uncertain future and carrying limited supplies, they travel through Poland, Germany, France, and England. Their journey allows them to meet people that will help them on their way. As their wounds heal, they will be able to reunite as a family again and see hope for the future.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It needs a full description of plot premises and other elements.

    Draw of Story

    It’s an adventurous and encouraging story of strength in the midst of challenging situations and difficult circumstances. Although the family faces many hurdles, they have high hopes for the future and remain optimistic. There are also some hints of humor, for example, when the family tries coffee for the first time and thinks that is why the Americans won the American Revolution while the British were drinking tea.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Simon's parents are lovely, but they are also pretty dull most of the time. Because of this, it's hard to regard them as interesting characters. While facing challenging circumstances and hard times, they could turn out to be more powerful characters.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    This is a great road story in which they meet interesting and fascinating characters on the way and get to learn about modern Jewish history. Facing an uncertain future and carrying limited supplies, the family goes on a journey trying to escape from war and oppression. Although, they remain optimistic while facing challenging situations and difficult circumstances. The story is based on true accounts of Jewish survivors who lived through dangerous times and, after the war, they wanted to return to the homes they had fled from.

    Fanbase Potential

    It's not a story for fanbases; however, the narrative about a boy and his family struggling to survive while escaping from war and oppression is captivating and sure to draw the audience.

    Awards Potential

    It is possible, especially if the family's encounters and connections are explored during their journey. The Awards typically salutes the refugee community and its diversity.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    This story is based on true accounts of Jewish survivors who endured dangerous times and wanted to return to the homes they had left behind. Regaining identity is at the heart of the narrative. The family's encounters and connections they made during their escape journey are also unique and fascinating. The cinematography of their travels through Poland, Germany, France and England can also be explored as a good road movie.

    Lead Characters

    The narrative is told from the perspective of a young boy named Simon. Along with his Christian parents, he leaves Russia to escape oppression under Stalin. Facing an uncertain future and carrying limited supplies, the family is always lovely with each other and remains optimistic while facing challenging situations and difficult circumstances. Later, as Simon and his wife move to Israel, they come to know the culture and identity they had once left behind.

    Uniqueness of Story

    There's not much rare in this story; we can find similar approaches in other productions about refugees and persecutions. However, the plot allows for exploring more interesting characters and unique locations that will appeal to the audience.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation



    While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

    Tips for Improvement

    It would be interesting to explore more the characters that the family meets on their journey. Also, Simon's parents are lovely, but they are also pretty dull most of the time. Because of this, it's hard to regard them as interesting characters. The hard times and hardships they faced could make them stronger characters.


    Simon is a young boy when his parents embark on a dangerous journey to get out of the anti-Semetic Soviet Union right after WWII. With the help of strangers on similar quests, their faith and bravery allow them to successfully complete their journey to England and then they all end up in Israel. During the wars of the 1960s and 70s, they all play their part in defense of their homeland and God's chosen settlement for the Jewish people.

    What We Liked

    Simon is an innocent caught up in the world's biggest conflict. Thanks to wise parents, although his journey is dangerous, he makes it through and prospers. Always with a prayer on their lips, the family - and the friends they meet along their journey - make it from one perilous situation to another. Although they sometimes differ in their faiths, faith is what pulls them through the horrors of war and into the promised land.

    Film: Good war films are always compelling. The drama is as authentic as it gets, and this story is very authentic in its portrayal of the plight of refugees from WWII. Lives are still in danger, and these characters are in very imminent danger since the country they live in has virtually declared war on them. They are in fear of the government and even their neighbors, and tension is constant and debilitating. The journey they undertake is essential to their survival but fraught with danger every step of the way until they get a respite. However, their sense of duty to their people compels them to move again so there isn't much of a break emotionally. There are many cinematic locations and the characters have strong arcs based on their faith and their politics. They are empathetic and compelling and viewers will not be able to guess what will happen to them next in the chaotic setting. Their journey is epic and nail-biting and one would root for the main character to find his way as he is tested in every way possible.

    TV: The strong, clear throughline of the powerful story would work well as a limited run series. There are clear delineations with the segmented travel to different cities and big historical events. The wars and larger conflicts are mainly in the background and the plot doesn't dwell on them so it would be easy to follow from episode to episode. Strong, empathetic characters and non-stop tension would provide and enticing ride for viewers. Although it takes place in dark times, there is a faith-based optimism that shines through the carnage.

    Key points:
    Dangerous journeys
    Life or death situations
    Empathetic characters


    1952, Russia. The war is over but families still await the return of their sons that were German prisoners. Many never come home. There are rumors that they were executed as traitors for surrendering. Simon Labosky was born in 1943 and lives with his father Joseph and mother Dina in a small Christian majority village in Russia. Although Jewish, they masquerade as Christian to avoid the anti-semetic government. Joseph avoided the war because of a birth defect but his brother Peter is still missing, causing him to lose weight from stress. He makes a trip to the government offices to demand information. He comes back, exhausted and crying. They wouldn’t give him any information on Peter, but he ran into one of Peter’s childhood friends who works there and finds out Peter was sent to Siberia. They plan on moving to England. They go to a Jewish doctor and he gives them a travel authorization. They’ll move to Poland, then Germany, then England. Afraid of being informed on, they tell friends they can’t afford to live in the village anymore and pack a few things and leave. They get on the train without incident and travel to a larger city where they will transfer to a train to Poland. A Jewish man, Isaac, tries to steal Joseph’s bag but then moves everyone to tears with his plight. His two daughters are hungry. At the station, Joseph sees the Jewish doctor who gave them their travel papers. He’s been conscripted and is now an army doctor. The doctor, Baruch, tells Joseph his family can come with him and his patients, and they meet Baruch’s cousin Omri who has a big truck. Isaac, joins them with his two daughters. Some journalists also join them, on their way to Auschwitz. Helena, a journalist, is angry to find out they’re going to Germany, but Isaac explains to her why he doesn’t hate the Germans like she does because God would not want that. They find a couple of hotel rooms and Omri steals fuel and is stopped by the police but is able to talk his way out of it. They go to Auschwitz and everyone who goes inside comes out devastated. Helena is so moved she decides she will go to Israel with Isaac. They get to the German border and split up - Joseph goes with his family, and Isaac and Helena with his daughters.

    Walking and sleeping on the ground, they are happened upon by an ambulance - it’s Baruch and Omri. They pick them up and take them to Berlin, with Simon pretending to be sick when they are stopped by a patrol. They are able to sneak across the border from East to West Germany and another Jewish doctor helps them get on a train

    After a while the train stops - there’s a bomb on the tracks that needs to be cleared and everyone gets off. The way is cleared and they make their way to the next station where they get off and try to find shelter from the rain. Demetrius, a man from the train, offers the floor of his house owned by cantankerous Uncle Hugo, who doesn’t want them praying in the house. They sleep on the floor for a couple of nights, then the Americans give them their travel papers to Dover. From there they can get to Oxford to their contact. They go through Paris and get the ferry to Dover, but are the only ones left at the station until two Dover policemen question them. They are terrified they’ll be locked up until the cops reassure them they’re there to help, and they tell them they know their benefactor, Mr Silver. They go to Mr Silver’s house and Simon is given his own room and they are fed. Dina will work with the nurses at the hospital and Joseph will help Mr Silver with his finances. Simon goes to work with Roy, an affable young man, who is the farm mechanic. He practices his English and learns to work the farm equipment. Roy tells him about how his wife left him while he was overseas and got pregnant by another man.

    Simon goes to school and assimilates well, although he is dismayed by the ways some of the other students talk about Jews. He asks his father, and Mr Silver takes him to the library and shows him the paintings of white Jesus, even though Jesus was a Jew. Mr Silver explains that he is Jewish and they have meetings on the Sabbath, the day of rest. Mr Silver explains how he came to England and about the death of his wife. Simon decides to buy his mother a gift and meets a girl his age named Rose at a jewelry shop. He’s 20 now, and he courts her and they get engaged. Mr Silver gets sick and tells Simon that he’s leaving him and Rose a trust for their childrens’ education and tickets to Israel. They are shocked at the amount of money. Also, Mr Simon leaves Joseph and Dina a very valuable painting as a retirement gift since he will have to sell the house and they will need to live somewhere else. They plan on Philadelphia. Joseph gives Simon a family tree and Simon finally finds out that he is Jewish but has trouble understanding why he’s just finding out now. Joseph explains to him that if anyone found out they might have been in big trouble. Joseph goes on to explain how he met a Christian man reading the bible and learned things he’d never known about being Jewish before - because his parents held back scripture about Jesus as the Messiah. His new friend is taken away in a van for spreading religion and Simon never sees him again. When he confesses everything to his father, his father kicks him out of the house and he goes to his friend Jacob’s. Joseph’s father eventually lets him back into his house but won’t speak to him. We find out how Joseph met Dina, a gentile, and they married.

    Finally in Israel, Simon and Rose explore the city and Simon explains all he knows about how things were constructed and why. They go to Jerusalem but can’t go everywhere in the city because of the tensions with neighboring countries. Then, Egypt and Syria attack and the country is at war. Simon asks how he can help and is sent to fix vehicles while Rose goes to help at a hospital. Simon fixes a truck but then a bomb injures his leg. At the hospital, he runs into Baruch. His leg is okay but he is sent home to rest with Rose since the fighting has subsided. In six days, Israel wins the war and people are rejoicing in the streets. Simon and Rose decide they want to stay in Israel and go to England to tell their parents. Mr Simon has set up a trust for them to live on until they can support themselves. They return to Israel and go sightseeing to places they couldn’t access during the Six Day War. A bomb goes off, and they rush to the hospital to give blood and help. They run into Isaac’s daughter at the hospital. Helena and Isaac married, and Helena lost her hearing during an explosion at a market.

    1972, and Rose is pregnant. She needs rest in the hospital although everything seems to be okay. Simon goes to the airport to pick up his parents but there is a terrorist attack and after a lot of tension they get out of there physically unscathed, although 26 people were killed. Rose has the baby a few weeks premature and which they name Sabra Baruch. Simon’s parents announce they will stay in Israel and the family rejoices. They sell the painting Mr Simon gave them and buy a block of flats in Jerusalem where Simon and Rose move into one and Simon’s parents into another. At a restaurant one night, Joseph sees his brother Peter. Everyone is stunned. Peter had been living there a while and had just recently prayed that he would see Joseph again. They agree to meet again on Yom Kippur, but when it comes, Peter doesn’t show up - and the country is attacked and goes to war. Simon goes to help with the vehicles and finds Peter, who is shot in the shoulder. He goes with him to the hospital and gives blood since they have the same type. Meanwhile at home, Rose is pregnant again and they are worried because they haven’t heard from Simon in a week because of communications problems. Peter tells Simon he works for Israeli intelligence. Isaac and Helena are in a Synagogue where Simon goes to pray. They report to Simon that one of their daughters was hit in the head and is in critical condition. Simon finally goes home and his family rejoices and they tell him there’s another baby on the way. They go back to see Peter in the hospital, and the war is turning in Israel’s favor. Two of their old friends, Yaakov and Collins, are killed in the war which lasts about three weeks. Isaac and Helena lose their son in law but their daughter is heartbroken - then they find out that his body was disfigured and it may not really be him that was killed. He is indeed alive and shocks his wife when he appears. She lost the baby but at least they are together again. All of the families and friends meet in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and give thanks and pray.

    About The Author

    The author wrote his first book when he was 72. His wife Penny and he spent three years in Israel. First as House parents to Arab Special Needs Children in Bethlehem, and then helping the poor of the Land in Jerusalem.