Item description for None of Them Were Heroes: Letters Between the Lines 1938-1942 by Chaim Rockman...
Actual letters written between 1938-1942 that describe the difficulties that one Jewish family endured as they spread out over three continents, yet maintained close contact with each other. Juxtaposed against the letters are newspaper articles from Europe and the United States that put the words and concepts found in each letter into context with what was happening during World War II.
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Reviews - What do customers think about None of Them Were Heroes: Letters Between the Lines 1938-1942?
A very personal and unforgettable viewpoint Feb 7, 2004
Compiled and arranged by Chaim Rockman, None Of Them Were Heroes: Letters Between The Lines 1938-1942 is an anthology of letters written by a family dispersed over three continents who tried to maintain contact with one another during the dark days of World War II. Arranged with selected newspaper articles from Europe and the United States that combine to put the terrible events of the spread of Nazism in context, None Of Them Were Heroes shows a very personal and unforgettable viewpoint of ordinary individuals struggling to survive and endure during those perilous times.
You gotta read this book! Dec 4, 2003
B"H Once in a while, a really great book comes along, the kind of book that makes you want to run out into the street, stop people at random, and demand they drop whatever they are doing and read this book, right now. `None of Them Were Heroes" is one of those rare books.
Author Chaim Rockman argues that his book is not a Holocaust story, and he is literally correct: this is not a story of the camps, or of `ordinary Germans', nor does it focus on Hitler or his willing executioners. Instead, Rockman takes a very different approach: he tells the story of a family - his own - most of whom had escaped from Germany in the early and mid-1930's. They were out of Germany, and free to varying extents, but they had left their elderly mother, Lina, behind, planning to bring her out as soon as they were settled.
And therein lies the problem: the opportunities for leaving Germany for any Jew - let alone a poor, elderly woman with no specialized skills - were rapidly reduced to almost zero as the Nazi noose tightened across Europe. The letters that form the basis of the story are commentaries on what each of them did - and didn't do -to free the trapped Lina.
`Heroes' is a book of faction - based on real people and actual events, but woven together into a readable whole by the author's imagination. The true story is, Rockman happened on a stash of correspondence among his family members sent during the critical years of 1938-42. Many letters were from Lina herself, who was growing more desperate, day by day. By turn, each family member urges the others to "do something" for poor Lina (Rockman's grandmother) -- but in fact, none of them were able to do much of anything. All were struggling with their own problems, in foreign cultures themselves, functioning in an unfamiliar language, lacking any easy access to the kind of people who did have the power to `do something'. In many cases, the `free' family members were in considerable danger themselves - witness cousin Max who was exiled from England to the refugee camp on the Isle of Man because he, as a former German citizen, could have been a Nazi spy.
`Heroes' in many ways, is a frustrating book. There are times you want to shake one character or the other and urge them to hurry -- but we operate from the position of hindsight, knowing what lies ahead. The characters in the book clearly do not.
In fact, one of the most valuable aspects of the book is to demonstrate how little any of them actually knew about what was happening in Poland. There were `rumors' of mass deaths, stories, whispered reports. But who could believe such atrocities, from a civilized country like Germany?
As Israel endures our current Intifada, it is popular to say that the worst thing the Arabs are doing to us is to make us kill their children. In a similar vein, one of the worst aspects of the Holocaust is what the Nazis made us do to each other - to divide our families, to accuse and blame each other, to demand action from others, when we ourselves were unable (or unwilling) to help. In the sense of our constant need to remember, to insist absolutely `never again', Rockman's book is a cornerstone.
(You gotta read this book!)
Grasping the impossible to grasp Nov 25, 2003
There are no words to describe the evil of the Nazi regime and its treatment of the Jewish population in Europe. In this simple book, None of Them were Heroes, about ordinary people, one begins to grasp some of the horror which is impossible to grasp. One gets a glimmer of an idea of the slippery slope the Jewish population found itself on--one by one the ordinary aspects of life were denied to them--each of them of little significance but all together composing the social fabric each individual needs to survive. This is a must read for anyone interested in life.