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50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany
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Archive: Other Books > 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman - 3 stars

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Ellen | 2316 comments In 1939, as the Nazi power machine began to roll over Europe, a Jewish-American couple from Pennsylvania, Gil and Eleanor Kraus, traveled to Austria where they successfully rescued 50 Jewish children and brought them to America. This book is based on an unpublished memoir written by Eleanor and on hundreds of interviews with surviving children, politicians and on many archived documents. Although they were American citizens, it was still a dangerous undertaking for the Krauses placing themselves in the middle of Nazi occupied Austria. Choosing 50 children from the hundreds presented by desperate parents must have been such a heartbreaking thing to do, as it was nearly certain those left behind would likely not survive. Political red tape and rampant anti-Semitism in the US nearly derailed the entire undertaking but a few compassionate politicians and embassy officials made sure the Krauses journey was not in vain.

The first section of the book, the planning stage, was so dry that I nearly gave up; countless names of politicians and their opinions became mind-numbing. The second section, the rescue, was so well done that I felt like I was right there along side Gil and Eleanor. The third section, the life after, was rewarding with the children's stories, many of whom, surprisingly, did end up being reunited with their families in America. I did not know there was an HBO special about this rescue so I will be sure to see if it is still available.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Good review. So the story itself is good its just all the technical and background stuff what was a little mind-numbing? I'm sure the HBO special might be more interesting. I'll have to to check that out.


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