Wednesday, March 12, 2014

50 Children

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Today’s nonfiction post is on 50 Children: One Ordinary’s American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman. It is 304 pages long including notes, bibliography, and a list of illustrations. It is published by HarperCollins. The cover has a picture of some of the children when they first see the statue of liberty. There is no language, no sex, and violence is only talked about in this book. The story is told from journals and interviews with the children and from the adult involved. The intended reader is someone who wants to read this very enlightening and uplifting story about a daring rescue against all the odds. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In early 1939, America’s rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to find safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.
Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to stand by silently. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus’s rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to provide a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions,
Drawing from Eleanor Kraus’s unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.

Review- This was a moving and inspiring story about the bravery of a few people against the callous and cruel regime. Parts of this story are of course very disturbing and tragic but I think that this is a story of hope really. Hope that the individual can do something like safe innocent children from madness. The Kraus’s just wanted to do the right thing. They were not looking for public praise or fame. They wanted to help. The odds that the Kraus’s had to overcome to get to Germany for the very small chance that they could save some children were not in their favor. The Kraus’s then had to decide which of the thousands of children who needed to be saved. The Kraus’s had help from unexpected places and places where there should have been help there was none. But they never gave up. The Kraus’s never once stopped trying. I highly recommend this very moving book about helping where you can no matter the odds.

I give this book a Five out Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book for free in return for an honest review by Harper Collins.