Item description for The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage by Mark Klempner & Christopher R. Browning...
Overview The author, a first generation Jewish-American, seeks out some of the last surviving rescuers of Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Holland to produce this collective portrait of ten heroic individuals.
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Studio: Pilgrim Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.32" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.86" Weight: 1.23 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2006
Publisher Pilgrim Press
ISBN 0829816992 ISBN13 9780829816990
Availability 0 units.
More About Mark Klempner & Christopher R. Browning
Reviews - What do customers think about The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage?
great for church/synagogue study groups Mar 25, 2008
I just read the following about this book in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies: "Well-written and highly accessible to average readers, it is a book for sharing and giving that would make an excellent choice for book clubs, as well as synagogues and churches interested in interreligious dialogue." As someone who is waiting for it to come out in paperback for use in my book club, I heartily agree.
The heart of the matter Apr 29, 2007
As those who celebrated the construction of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. worked hard to make clear, we are reaching an important point in the history of the world - there will soon be no survivors of the World War II period left alive. The commentary on the presidential elections in France mentioned that this is the first set of candidates for the high office with no experience of the war. This same situation is true for those who experienced the Holocaust, in its various dimensions - there will soon be no one left alive to tell the story directly. In a world where Holocaust denial ebbs and flows, this becomes a problem. Projects such as Mark Klempner's `The Heart Has Reasons' are truly important, in helping to keep alive the memory of those who had direct experience.
Most people in the Western world are familiar with the Diary of Anne Frank, but fewer are aware that there were many stories of heroism among the Dutch during the war. However, the overall survival rate of Jews in Holland was among the lowest in occupied Western Europe. There were people who helped hide and shelter Jewish people, at tremendous risk to their own lives. `Those who decided to help Jews in Holland had to be willing to disobey the Nazi measures and resist the Nazi machinations to relegate Jews to subhuman status. They had to cross the line from being law-abiding citizens to enemies of the state. They had to act from the heart, come what may.' This book is about ten different people who took it upon themselves to come between the Nazi efforts and those who would be victims.
Mark Klempner is listed in the credits as a folklorist and oral historian. Given that narrative theology is a particular interest of mine, his background and method of development fits with my own ideas of how to develop history into a memorable and lasting element of culture. It was also an important development for Klempner. The final paragraph of his introductory piece speaks to this: `Spending time with the rescuers was, for me, a transforming experience. They welcomed me into their homes as though I were someone special - a characteristic inversion - and showered me with hospitality and kindness. I soon was looking at them not only as people who had made history, but also as people who could teach me a different way to live. I've come to think of them as radiant specks around the black hole of the Holocaust, and they've become a radiant presence in my own life as well.'
Klempner presents, after his personal introduction, a chapter on the background of the history, which includes both general history of the development of the Holocaust as well as specifically Dutch history - the NSB (Dutch Fascists), the piece-by-piece encroachment on Dutch rights and Jewish rights during the occupation, and overall development of a resistance to the oppression. The heart of the book, however, is in the ten stories of those who put security, family and life on the line to help those in need.
The names are important, for the Holocaust gets lost in the abstraction of numbers. But all stories are personal. Heiltje Kooistra found inspiration for her actions in her own religious faith - `If you love Jesus, how can you not love the people and tradition out of which Jesus came forth?' Rut Matthijsen was a behind-the-scenes operator in the resistance, who looked past the discrimination: `Years later, when I went to Israel to receive the Yad Vashem award, I was asked, "Why did you help the Jewish people?" The emphasis being on the word Jewish. But that was Adolf Hitler's emphasis. I helped them because they were people.' Hetty Voute spent years in prison for her efforts, as did her friend Gisela Sohnlein. Clara Dijkstra ended up being the second mother to a girl she rescued, a relationship that continues to this day. Some, like Kees Veenstra, are very private about their actions, preferring to consider himself an ordinary person. Janet Kalff tapped into her Quaker background for strength, whereas Mieke Vermeer drew from a Calvinist background. Pieter Meerburg's actions came out of a humanism not borne of religious conviction, but out of respect for life. Theo Leender's relationship with God can sometimes be stormy, but his faith in doing what is right did not falter.
These are not people who looked for personal reward - in fact, just the opposite is the case for several of them. Many remained generous beyond their wartime efforts; Klempner mentions one man who had a stack of fund-raising letters from charities, who always found time to help even the smaller causes with a little bit, saying, `Even a small donation can give a lot of encouragement to people doing good work.'
This book was a gift to me, both spiritually and literally. I was offered the chance to read it months ago, and it took a long time. The stories could not be rushed through as if it were one more text to read; I found myself with tears of anger, frustration, and occasional joy throughout many of the stories (and it is hard to read through tears). Klempner has given rare insight into a side of the Holocaust little known but very important, and very powerful witnesses who give hope to the future.
Hope and Lessons for Living Mar 30, 2007
The dark cloud of disaster can't hide the brilliant light of joy and altruism in the human spirit. Somedays I don't turn on the news; it's too depressing to bear. But in this book, author Mark Klempner gazes unflinchingly at one of the blackest episodes in human history . . . and finds there hope and lessons for living.
Klempner interviewed ten of the "Righteous Gentiles": people who risked all to save Jewish children from the Nazis. A folklorist and oral historian, Klempner lets his subjects take center stage and tell their stories in their own words. This is precious documentation of the experiences of a generation that is passing on.
As counterpoint, Klempner relates the autobiographical saga of his own search for an ethical compass. This journey led him from the amoral canyons of the Los Angeles music scene to explore his Jewish immigrant roots in Europe. Klempner also includes historical and political essays that place the individual stories in the context of world events. The narratives are not homogenized into a smooth package. Think of these gems as displayed in their natural state, not cut and mounted so as to preserve the authenticity of the historical record.
To sum up, this book contains:
* Fascinating true stories, very accessible to the casual reader.
* Troubling questions about ethics, psychology and the meaning of life; pat answers not included.
* Inspiration, and proof that in the face of the most horrifying threats imaginable, some people will step forth and risk all to do the right thing.
inspiring Dec 6, 2006
Mark Klempner is a masterful storyteller. Although 'storyteller' may make you think of fiction, this story is not fiction. Mark has poignantly shared interviews with Dutch resisters and rescuers in a way that won't let you stop thinking about them. He asks big questions and gives important answers about learning from the righteous and from history.
Vividly recounts deeply terrifying efforts of ten gallantly individual experiences Jul 10, 2006
Enhanced with an informative foreword by Christopher R. Browning, The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers And Their Stories Of Courage by folklorist and oral historian Mark Klempner is the account of how many valiant people worked at great personal peril through the Holocaust and Hitler's Reign to save Jewish children and others from being murdered in the Nazi death camps. Guiding readers through the epic and heroic tales of these Dutch rescuers, The Heart Has Reasons vividly recounts deeply terrifying efforts of ten gallantly individual experiences. Superbly presented and an important addition to the growing library of holocaust literature, The Heart Has Reasons is very highly recommended reading, especially for all historians and students of the Dutch involvement in World War II.