Wednesday, June 4, 2014

[Review] 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman

Publisher: HarperCollins April 22, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, World War II, Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Austria, Memoir
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Compensated by a review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for a review.

Further links:
Articles: The Holocaust Remembered, from American Thinker
Rescue Documentary 50 Children, from Huffington Post
The Unlikeliest Rescue Mission, from The Jewish Week





Summary:
Gil and Eleanor Kraus's family knew about their work to rescue fifty Jewish children in 1939; however, Gil and Eleanor had never revealed any details. A forgotten memoir typed by Eleanor, revealed a daring plan to carry out a brave mission in pre-war Germany and Austria. In the mid 1930s, Nazi Germany began the task of ridding themselves of the Jewish population, in order to have the perfect Aryan race for the Reich. The Nuremberg Race Laws clamped down on restricting a Jew to own a business, or for a Jew to work and mingle with a person who was not Jewish. Jewish trades were closed. Jewish doctors lost jobs and many of them disappeared. Nazi Germany strongly encouraged Jews to leave, but it was not an easy task. Jews who had family to sponsor them in America were able to emigrate. Some Jews were able to relocate to Palestine, South America, Cuba, and England. Those who were unable to afford relocating, or they were ill, or did not have family in another country to sponsor them, were left in fear for their future. The American Jewish organization B'rith Sholom, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was instrumental in providing the financial backing for the mission. Gil and Eleanor, would be the manpower and footwork.
"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 
My Thoughts:
John Wayne explained: "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."
Courage and bravery does not mean a person is unafraid, it means despite what might happen, the task must be attempted and hopefully achieved.
Gil and Eleanor Kraus, took the courageous steps in order to rescue fifty Jewish children in peril. They worked despite what the American government had advised, they worked despite the fact they were Jewish and faced punishment in Germany; at each point where an obstacle had been set up, with quiet stoicism they remained steadfast in the mission. It is for this first reason that I've given this story 5 stars for excellent.
I'm amazed, and with deep emotion, of what this precious couple worked to achieve. They could have turned their faces away from what was happening in Nazi Germany, (after all other American's and government officials had). They placed their lives at risk to save children. Children hold all that is innocent and trusting, they are our hope for the future.
Steven Pressman portrays the harsh and impossible situation for the Jews in Germany and Austria. The desperation the Jews felt is hard to fathom.
Antisemitism is described in America, especially in Government.
The term Washington "red tape" became very real to me after having read 50 Children.

Barnes and Nobles hardcover $13.50
Audio Now Club Price $11.00

2 comments:

  1. This sounds so good. I'm adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing about it. : )

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  2. I have this book, so I'm glad to see you give it 5 stars. These are the kinds of nonfiction books I like to read about the war, the ones with the inspirational stories.

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