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Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport [Paperback]

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Item description for Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport by Mark Jonathan Harris...

The companion to the Academy Award(r) winning feature documentary from Warner Bros. For nine months before the outbreak of World War II, Britain conducted an extraordinary rescue mission. It opened its doors to over 10,000 endangered children-90 per cent of them Jewish-from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. These children were taken into foster homes and hostels in Britain, expecting eventually to be reunited with their parents. Most of the children never saw their families again. Into the Arms of Strangers recounts the remarkable story of this rescue operation, known as the Kindertransport. It contains stories in their own words from the child survivors, rescuers, parents, and foster parents. The stories are heartbreaking, but they are also inspiring. These are the stories of those who survived with the help of others; they are stories about the strength and resolve of children; and most astonishing, these are stories not yet heard about the Holocaust.

Outline Review
Between December 1938 and the outbreak of war in August 1939, some 10,000 children, the vast majority of them Jews, from Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia were evacuated to Great Britain. The stories of 18 witnesses to this Kindertransport--children, parents, and rescuers--are recounted in Into the Arms of Strangers.

These first-person accounts are woven into a loose narrative of life before the Nazi era, the transport, and life in their new homes. The editors wisely remain in the background, allowing the survivor testimony to shine through. Their experiences were diverse: some stayed behind, such as Norbert Wollheim, a Kindertransport organizer who refused a number of chances to escape from Germany, knowing that if he did, the transports would be stopped. Lory Cahn was actually on a train when her father pulled her off; he was unable to let her go. Those who made it to England found challenges of their own: some remained in hostels for the remainder of the war; some were taken in by families to work as cheap servant labor; still others were taken in by loving families, but then had to deal with "survivor's guilt."

Years after the war, Vera Gissing asked her foster father why he and his family had taken her in. He answered, "I knew I could not save the world. I knew I could not stop the war from starting. But I knew I could save one human life." Into the Arms of Strangers is a moving tribute to this remarkable event. --Sunny Delaney

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Bloomsbury USA
Pages   292
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2001
Publisher   Bloomsbury USA
ISBN  1582341621  
ISBN13  9781582341620  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mark Jonathan Harris

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mark Jonathan Harris is a two-time Academy Award(r) winner, most recently for the 1997 Best Feature-Length Documentary," The Long Way Home," He is a professor and former chair of the Production Department of the USC School of Cinema/Television, a journalist, and the author of five award-winning children's novels.
Deborah Oppenheimer is the president of Mohawk Productions, a production company at Warner Bros. She is the executive producer of the television programs, "The Drew Carey Show" and "Norm," Her mother was a Kindertransport survivor.

Mark Jonathan Harris was born in 1941.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Family & Childhood
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > Holocaust
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
5Books > Subjects > History > Jewish > Holocaust
6Books > Subjects > History > World > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport?

The sad memories!  Oct 28, 2006
From the ashes of the WW2 emerged this poignant account around a set of children by then, who tell us their little anecdotes related with the desolation and abandon of their parents since the arrival of Hitler in 1933.

Each one of these little livings has its own specific weight, that allows us to know many unsaid aspects of this unforgettable and horrid episode about the progroms of the Jews.

Totally recommended.
A painful and inspiring chapter of human history  Aug 30, 2005
The story of the rescue of thousands of Jewish children is told here in good part by eighteen individuals involved in the Kindertransport. The stories are often heartbreaking as most of the children left behind parents and family they were never to see again.
Most of these people do manage to make new lives for themselves in England. But the legacy of seperation and suffering does not end with them alone but continues even into the next generation. There are stories here of decency and kindness of non- Jews to the Jewish youngsters, but also stories of obtuseness. Behind it all is of course the ' crime of the century' the Nazi cruelty which took millions of innocent lives.
This book is a valuable work of testimony but of course tells only a small part of the story of the thousands of children who were saved by the 'Kindertransport'.
A lesson for all of us  Jul 26, 2005
Imagine being 10 years old and having your parents put you on a train to a foreign country! The stories told in Into the Arms of Strangers are heartbreaking AND inspiring. 9 out of 10 of the 10,000 children who were part of the Kindertransport never saw their parents again, but they survived WWII because hundreds of British opened their arms and hearts to them when they arrived as refugees. The experiences of the Kinder are an important lessons for the world, especially in light of recent human rights violations in places like Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Africa. We should look toward the unselfish example set by the British people as a model of compassion and action during a time of need.

Although it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the individual stories which are told in a timeline fashion, the short summaries at the end of the book help you go back and tie up loose ends.

It is amazing that the Kindertransport stories did not come to public attention until just a few years ago. They are an important part of the whole Holocaust story. The companion DVD is a great teaching tool for middle and high school.
Interesting read  Oct 31, 2004
This book is based on the memories of several people who were involved in the Kindertransport -- children, organizers, and foster parents. It well-written and easy to read. Also, should one desire, one can follow one individual all the way through the process or read all the accounts based on time.
Unbelievable  Apr 27, 2004
I can't get this book out of my head. It has managed to invade my thoughts on a daily basis and show up in my dreams at night. It is shocking and appalling that such an event could occur - parents having to say goodbye to their little children. I have children of my own, and reading this book made me almost ill with sadness and horror. The heartache and misery endured by the Jewish people is beyond comprehension - it utterly boggles the mind.

First-person narrative history is perhaps the most interesting history to read; the individual accounts are so emotional that you want to reach into the page and lend comfort. This is an excellent book that deserves a special place in the holocaust library. It should also be read in schools.


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