New Nonfiction: 50 Children – Steven Pressman

50 Children grew out of a one-hour documentary of the same name that aired on HBO in April last year. This book is illustrated throughout and expands on the story told in the documentary. It chronicles a Philadelphia couple who resolves to do something to save Jews and travels to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin in spring 1939 to save fifty Jewish children from what would soon become the terrible fate of millions.

The inspiring story of two average people who resolved to do what they could stands in stark contrast to America’s failure to act to save Jewish lives. Approximately 1200 children made it to America of the 1.5 million who died in the Holocaust, making the story of the Krauses and the children they saved all the more impressive.

“Drawing from interviews, historical documents, and Eleanor’s private writings, Pressman reconstructs the chain of events, adding background and context. His flowing narrative breathes life into the America and Europe of 1938–1939, placing a spotlight on the impossible circumstances and contradictions of Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish pogroms, as Jews were encouraged to leave yet hindered at every turn. He looks at the obstacles thrown up by American attitudes and policies: isolationism, rigid immigration laws and quotas, and rampant anti-Semitism made it unlikely that the Krauses’ plan would ever work… a story as troubling as it is inspirational.”
Publishers Weekly

50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany (9780062237477) by Steven Pressman. $26.99 hardcover. 4/22/14 on sale.

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