"You can't let people be treated in an inhuman way around you....Otherwise you start to become inhuman." So declares rescuer Hetty Voûte in this eBook version of the updated edition of THE HEART HAS REASONS, an acclaimed historical account that offers an in-depth look into the hearts and minds of the Holocaust rescuers and explores the meaning that their lives and deeds have for us today. Individually or in small "humanitarian cells," the ten Dutch people profiled in this eBook saved the lives of thousands of Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Holland. How did they do what they did—and why did they risk everything to do it? Although their tales of rescue vary greatly, the integrity of the rescuers does not. Thus these narratives provide a glimpse into their personalities and character while shedding light on their extraordinary acts of courage and kindness. Framed by Klempner's own quest for meaning, the rescuers' words resonate across generations, providing timeless insight into how people of conscience can navigate morally and resist tyranny in a world where the old specters of prejudice and fascism are again ascendant.
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.
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From the back cover….
"A book to restore one's faith in the possibility of human goodness."
—Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
"No one knows what this 21st century will bring, hope or horror. The brave people Klempner profiles in this gripping book show us there can be hope, even amid horror."
—Pete Seeger, legendary folk singer
"Like no other work I have read, Klempner's deeply moving book puts a human face on the Holocaust rescuers."
—Christopher R. Browning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of Ordinary Men and The Origins of the Final Solution
"An invaluable book for anyone who seeks to learn--or relearn--the art of compassionate resistance."
—Garret Keizer, author of Help: The Original Human Dilemma
"In these pages you will meet profound, uplifting people whose iron devotion to human caring compelled them to risk everything to shelter, hide, and save the vulnerable. You will not stop thinking about them after you finish reading, for Mark Klempner gracefully, hauntingly, invites the most intimate reflection on the moral struggles echoing from the Holocaust into the troubled present."
—David K. Shipler, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land
"I read Mark Klempner's book with great interest, and with gratitude that he collected these accounts from a generation of remarkable people who are now leaving us. It is so important that we hear their stories and tell their stories to young people again and again."
—Lois Lowry, Newbery Award winning author of Number the Stars
"We need to know that there are transformed people, even in the midst of a world that seems to avoid renewal, resurrection, and transformation. Hope becomes personal, concrete, and believable in these marvelous stories."
—Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, author of Radical Grace
"A work of both agonizing history and hopeful prophecy...Klempner's beautifully intimate portraits illuminate the sanctuary of the loving heart, the place from which the Dutch rescuers performed their courageous deeds in quietness and strength."
—Rev. Mark I. Wallace, Swarthmore College, author of Fragments of the Spirit
"Nothing enlivens history more than personal testimony. These oral histories of individual resistance to Nazism in Holland are extraordinary contributions not only to Holocaust Studies but to the fields of psychology, sociology, education and political science. Told by a wonderful assortment of men and women, they are also compelling stories that elicit both laughter and tears."
—Helen Epstein, author of Children of the Holocaust
"Powerful stories that can inspire us in our current time. They remind us that even in the most difficult circumstances we still can make choices that matter."
—Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time