- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Edition Unstated edition (September 30, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064461173
- ISBN-13: 978-0064461177
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rescue: The Story of How Gentiles Saved Jews in the Holocaust Paperback – September 30, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
This successor to Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust presents a little-known side of history. PW said, "The most remarkable aspect of this book, aside from the array of astonishing facts, is Meltzer's clear sense of perspective. This is a calm book (about extreme events) that lifts the spirit." Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Winner of the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
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Outlined geographically and flowing smoothly from chapter to chapter, Rescue looks at at groups and individuals who helped Jews, and comments on the philosophies behind each person's choices. Each chapter has a simple map at the beginning, and Meltzer ties each event to the next with comments like: "In the village of Le Chambon all the people came together to save the lives of thousands of Jews. In the country of Denmark another spectacular act of human solidarity took place." This makes the book easy to understand.
While it does speak about Hitler's purposes and some of the horrific acts perpetrated on the Jews, as necessitated by the story, Rescue's focus is on the good, so that the evil is easier to handle.
A few of the exciting things this book unintentionally brought out is that God can use anybody, regardless of character or culture, to protect His people; that God is working even in the worst of circumstances; and that, while humans are fallen (thus the Holocaust happened in the first place) we are still made in the image of God and know to do right.
The Gentiles are heroes because they go above and beyond what is expected in everyday life. They protected the Jews because they believe it is the right thing to do, regardless of what they are taught by the anti-Semitists. For example, a student, Marion Pritchard, witnesses the brutality by the Germans to Jewish children, while she is riding her bike down the road. This disturbing incident shocks her into wanting to do as much as she could to help them and stop this cruelty. "Crying with rage, she just sat there on her bicycle and at that moment decided she would do anything she could to stop such atrocities." (p.140). By choosing to do this, she puts herself in danger and alters the course of her life.
The author says that the Gentiles even help strangers; this is not an unusual characteristic of heroes since they tend to be selfless, and do not distinguish between the people they help. In Poland, a woman, Elizabeth Przewlocka, grabs a Jewish boy before he is about to be deported. She hid him until she could find an orphanage for him. "Elizabeth Przewlocka, snatched a Jewish child she didn't know while the Nazi guard wasn't looking." (p.32). The author gives several examples of this throughout the book. Milton Meltzer successfully paints a vivid picture of the activities taking place. This makes the reader feel like they are physically seeing the story unfold.
The author, Milton Meltzer, writes the story of the Gentiles in an intriguing way. He gives the reader informative stories about many different Gentiles who assisted the Jews during the Holocaust. He also makes connections between different places and periods of time when the Holocaust was taking place. For example, Adolf Eichman, a German Nazi bureaucrat, is described in a few places throughout the book. First, his background is explained, and then later in the book, some of the horrible things he planned for the Jews. These include in Budapest with his goals of destroying every Jew possible, and the deportation of families in Holland, like Anne Frank's. "Adolf Eichmann prepared a plan to round up the Jews in Budapest, the capital." (p.106), "Anne was sent to Auschwitz in the last deportation of Dutch Jews organized by Eichmann." (p. 134). Also, the book and its events are connected, even from chapter to chapter, so that all the stories flow smoothly. For example, chapter six is about Le Chambon and Andre Trocme, "That `dangerous, difficult Trocme,' as he had been called by his national church, had made goodness happen in Le Chambon." (p.87), and leads into the next chapter, which is about Denmark and Sweden, "In the village of Le Chambon all the people came together to save the lives of thousands of Jews. In the country of Denmark another spectacular act of human solidarity took place." (p.89). This makes the book easy to follow and understand. To get an even fuller understanding of where each of the rescues is taken place, there are maps at the beginning of each chapter. There is also an index in the back of the book to find specific events or people, which are mentioned throughout the biography. Milton Meltzer leaves readers with questions to think about, "Would I, could I, we wonder, stand up for the persecuted and the helpless? Would I risk so much? Would I care that much?". (p.156).
This book is a must read because it gives a different view of the Holocaust, from the heroic people who help rather than the ruthless ones who kill. The book is particularly suitable for people with little knowledge of the Holocaust. It is written for people with interest in the Holocaust, but without emphasize on the gruesome details. This biography shows that there are many ways in which people show their heroism.