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The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage Hardcover – March 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Pilgrim Press; 1st edition edition (March 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829816992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829816990
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Asked why she helped save Jewish children during Germany's occupation of Holland in WWII while so many others stood by, Clara Dijkstra replies, "The heart has reasons." Klempner, a folklorist and oral historian, attempts to explore some of those reasons through interviews with 10 Dutch resisters who rescued Jews from the Nazis. Each of the chapters includes a short introduction, a first-person narrative from the rescuer, followed by a question and answer format and historical information. The result is often choppy; a straight and more integrated narrative throughout each chapter would serve these powerful stories better. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, the author uses the book to come to terms with his family's past and figure out what to do with his life. The dual objectives of profiling rescuers and wrestling with personal issues don't always work well together; the narrative often shifts uncomfortably between a focus on the rescuers and the author's focus on himself. But the summary chapter, which explores the lessons learned from the resisters and the application of those lessons for today's world is a highlight. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Klempner examines the lives of 10 Dutch rescuers who saved Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of their country during World War II. Some of them were primarily involved in helping to find safe addresses for the young people and then transporting them to those addresses. Three rescuers took Jewish children into their homes. One rescuer made regular visits to the houses where the children were hiding, bringing the host families food, ration coupons, and money. Another helped to raise money and one of them stole large supplies of ration coupons from government offices. One of them developed intricate security measures to ensure that the whereabouts of the children would not be found out, even if he or other members of the Amsterdam Student Group were arrested. All together, the 10 people profiled here, and other children's rescuers throughout the Netherlands, were able to save more than 4,000 young lives. These poignant stories shed light on one of the darkest episodes in the twentieth century. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Mark Klempner is a historian, memoirist, and social commentator. The son of an immigrant who barely escaped the Holocaust, Klempner spent nearly a decade talking with and getting to know the Dutch rescuers in order to write "The Heart Has Reasons." An updated paperback edition of this acclaimed oral history is now available worldwide. Klempner grew up in New York, and attended Cornell University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1997, and winning a J. William Fulbright Fellowship. In 2000, he received an M.A. in folklore studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Klempner's professional articles have appeared internationally in publications such as the "Oral History Reader." His articles for the general public have been published in the Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, and other periodicals. Online, he is a blogger for the Huffington Post, and has contributed to Commondreams.org and Alternet. An active public speaker, Klempner addressed members of Congress and their Staffs on Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2012. He has also given presentations at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Library of Congress, the National Humanities Center, and at hundreds of churches, synagogues, cultural centers, and educational institutions.


Customer Reviews

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I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it highly.
Kindle Customer
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.
FrKurt Messick
I think anybody who reads this book will come away grateful for life and grateful to be shown what true living is really about.
Hauoli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mary loves Murder on April 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Give till it hurts" and "Give as good as you've got" was the creed my grandmother and my mother taught their children, and that permeated their own lives. This book is about Dutch people who lived this creed in dire circumstances, so dire the world had never imagined them before. It gives us the words and motivations of 10 of the luminous people who surely redeemed some bit of the evils of the Holocaust. The author is a skilled interviewer and gifted storyteller, a man who looks at truth straight on. His book is an easy read, an illuminating inspiration, an unusual penetration of the good in human hearts. It ends with a thoughtful analysis of victim and perpetrator of true evil, and those who intervened. It's an outstanding achievement! I look forward to hearing about the awards it's sure to receive.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Diane Ruth on May 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In a world where "if it bleeds it leads," we come to think news=disaster and war=history. Cheers for a book that shines the spotlight on persons of extraordinary virtue. This book celebrates individuals who rescued Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. And addresses that essential question: how can one person make a difference?

All of these heroes risked death, torture and ruin to help strangers. Even after reading these accounts, I am boggled by their altruism. Klempner refers to the Judaic myth of the righteous individuals whose goodness holds up the world. That metaphor communicates just how significant these stories are for us all.

Klempner avoids pat explanations. He lets the rescuers tell their stories in their own ways, giving their own rationales. He separates out his own personal history, which is a story in its own right. And also separates out some fine short essays that place the material in a historical context.

The narratives are not homogenized into a smooth package. Think of these gems as displayed in their natural state, not cut and mounted. Which preserves the authenticity of the historical record.

For students of history and ethics, these stories offer a springboard to discussion and further research. While not lengthy, this book packs some highly concentrated food for thought in its brown wrapper.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sarada George on May 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Why?" This is the question I'm often left with after reading about Holocaust rescuers. They often seem far above ordinary humans, out of the sphere of people like me - but not in this book. The Heart Has Reasons shows rescuers in the context of their lives, as people who have learned to perceive, evaluate, and think for themselves. In the words of one of them, they do "not accept oversimplified answers". Their cultural and life histories helped them see everyone as equally human with themselves. Their answers, direct or indirect, to the question of why they helped the Jews invariably return to these ideas and often describe a journey of very small beginnings. In demystifying these Dutch rescuers, Klempner in no way diminishes them or their achievements. Indeed, their nobility is increased, as they become realistic examples of what ordinary people can do to change history. In letting the rescuers tell their own stories, interspersed with historical perspective and philosophical and personal commentary, Klempner effectively shows us the traits we must nurture in all children. A true storyteller, he lets his subject dictate its form. As we get to know the rescuers, we start with the usual question and end up each time with, perhaps, the only answer that can prevent other Holocausts.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Heart Has Reasons was a surprise to me. The stories in this book are, in my opinion, less about the specific place in history that they occurred, but rather more about what we as human beings are capable of.

Before reading this book, I was not terribly informed about the situation and climate of Holland during the rise of the Germans prior to and during WWII. These stories remind us that the worst of human behavior, the most absolute and utter evil, is balanced by the best that humanity has to offer. These are people who risked everything to try, in some small way, to combat the horror they saw. They did it without reward or recognition. It's important to be reminded of what people just like us are able to do; the world we live in today is no different.

Mr. Klempner lets the reader inside the lives of these rescuers as well as his own. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it highly.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard Silverstein on May 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mark Klempner, at one time a Los Angeles session musician beset with a spiritual crisis, eventually decided to return to graduate school where he became interested in exploring the Dutch response to the Holocaust. His nine years of painstaking research have come to fruition with the publishing of 'The Heart Has Reasons.'

There is no way round the fact that the Holocaust is perhaps the darkest event in all of human history. In studying it, you must be prepared for heartbreak, for tears and for deep anger. These aren't emotions that most of us wish to confront--at least not very often.

But there are stories that break out of the mold of such horror by recounting the humanity that somehow took hold of a few select individuals during that otherwise hopeless time. These are the Righteous Gentiles who endangered themselves and their families for an idea, a principle that human beings in need were worth helping. Everything in their world told them not to do it. Their very lives were at risk for violating rules against helping Jews. Yet they did it anyway. Why did they?

These simple, yet profound questions are what informs Mark Klempner's remarkable profile of four Dutch rescuers who saved Jews. This book also serves another critical role. Holocaust survivors and rescuers are dying out quickly. We must save their testimony about what happened and what they did. Otherwise, our memories will find a blank page where this heroism should be written.

The world owes Klempner a debt of gratitude for this profound work.
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