Unfortunately for Jewish Europeans, the United States had adopted strict immigration laws in 1932 as a result of the Great Depression. Immigration laws had steadily been tightened, however, since the late nineteenth century.
By early 1939 the situation in Europe was becoming more desperate as Adolph Hitler continued his rampage throughout the continent. Hitler was certainly an enemy of the Jews but it also seemed like the whole world was indifferent to their plight as well. Some Jewish organizations in the United States, however, were undeterred by the strict immigration laws.
Author Steven Pressman’s book is based on an HBO documentary, and it tells the true story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus and their daring attempt to save fifty Jewish children and bring them to the United States. The book expands on the one-hour documentary and includes more details, including excerpts from Eleanor’s unpublished memoir. Also included are photographs and interviews of some of the children who were rescued.
Their hope was that the children would eventually be reunited with their birth families, but tragically some of the parents died in concentration camps. Fortunately, most of the children had connections to extended family members already in America.
It was an arduous project that Brith Shalom took on, spear-headed by the Krauses, and a race against time. There were voluminous amounts of paperwork and details that all had to fall into place. Anyone with an interest in World War II or the Holocaust would find this a fascinating read about a harrowing time in history.
Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!
© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.