In Forty Autumns, Nina Willner recounts the history of three generations of her family mothers, sisters, daughters and cousins separated by forty years of Soviet rule, and reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall.Shortly after the end of the Second World War, as the Soviets took control of the eastern part of Germany, Hanna, a schoolteachers daughter, escaped with nothing more than a small suitcase and the clothes on her back. As Hanna built a new life in the West, her relatives (her mother, father and eight siblings) remained in the East. The construction of the Berlin Wall severed all hope of any future reunion.Hanna fell in love and moved to America. She made many attempts to establish contact with her family, but most were unsuccessful. Her father was under close observation her mother, younger sister Heidi and the others struggled to adjust to life under a bizarre and brutal regime that kept its citizens cut off from the outside world.