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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


New Book Celebrates Courage of World War II Dutch Rescuers Against Impossible Odds

Contact: Aimée Jannsohn
The Pilgrim Press
216.736.3761 phone, 216.736.2207 fax

“Powerful stories” —Publishers Weekly

“Poignant stories” —Booklist

“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 and political activist

“An invaluable book for anyone who seeks to learn—or relearn—the art of compassionate resistance. With America tempted to empire as never before, Klempner's account of those who could have been players in the game of 'Aryan supremacy' but chose instead to subvert it comes at a crucial time.” – Garret Keizer, author of Help: The Original Human Dilemma

“Like no other work I have read, Mark Klempner’s deeply moving book puts a human face on the Holocaust rescuers.” – Christopher R. Browning, author of The Origins of the Final Solution

“A book to restore one’s faith in the possibility of human goodness.” – Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“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

“I read 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 and The Giver

“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.”– Richard Rohr, OFM, 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.” – Reverend Mark I. Wallace, Swarthmore College, author of Fragments of the Spirit

“In these pages you will meet profound, uplifting people whose iron devotion to human caring compelled them to risk everything to shelter, hid, 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

Generations of readers have been captivated by Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl since its release more than fifty years ago. They’ve been particularly fascinated by Dutch heroes such as Miep Gies, who risked her life to hide the Franks from the Nazi regime. Books about such heroism during World War II have continued to pour in over the years, but there remains the need for a book that conveys the hard-earned wisdom of the rescuers and how this wisdom relates to contemporary issues. The Heart Has Reasons is such a book.

The author has assembled a collection of poignant narratives told by Dutch rescuers, all of whom helped hide Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Holland. His book features amazing stories of fearlessness. For example, after being thrown into prison for transporting Jewish children to safe places, Hetty Voûte successfully assisted some British paratroopers in the cell above hers to escape. For that, she was sentenced to work at a labor camp, where she further defied the Nazis by secretly ruining the gas masks she made in an assembly line there. Rut Matthijsen worked tirelessly behind the scenes, forging identity cards and other vital papers, and printing illegal books and posters, the sale of which supported hundreds of children in hiding. Pieter Meerburg, who co-founded a rescue network at only 21 years of age, orchestrated the stealthy removal of hundreds of Jewish children from the “Creche,” a building in Amsterdam where Jewish children were detained before being sent to concentration camps. The rescuers’ stories and personalities vary widely, but the thread that connects them all is their unwavering courage and compassion during one of the darkest periods in history.

As told to Mark Klempner, whose own father narrowly escaped the Nazi scourge, the stories act as both a window to the past and a vision for the future. Framed by Klempner’s quest for spirituality in his life, the book asks questions about how people of faith and conscience can navigate ethically in an increasingly complex world. If the rescuers could remain committed to acting with love and generosity, even while under the boot of the Nazi regime, they surely have something to teach us today—about being courageous in addressing injustices, about maintaining an open heart, and about not giving in or giving up. Their critiques of modern society can be as startling as their memories of the Nazi years, yet most have retained an unshakable optimism, anchored in their time-tested conviction that each individual can make a difference.

Mark Klempner is a folklorist, and oral historian. His articles have appeared in both mainstream and academic publications, and he has been featured as an NPR commentator. He lives in Costa Rica with his wife and son. Visit his website at

# # #

The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage
Mark Klempner
Foreword by Christopher R. Browning
272 pp - 6" x 9" / ISBN 0-8298-1699-2 / $24.00 USA/$29.00 CAN
March 2006 publication - World Rights - Published by The Pilgrim Press
Holocaust Studies/Inspiration
35 photos / 1 map

The Pilgrim Press • 700 Prospect Avenue • Cleveland, OH 44115

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