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50 Children : One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany

4.01 (1,540 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Based on the acclaimed HBO documentary, the astonishing true story of how one American couple transported fifty Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Austria to America in 1939--the single largest group of unaccompanied refugee children allowed into the United States--for readers of In the Garden of Beasts and A Train in Winter.

In early 1939, America's rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to seek safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.

Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to silently stand by. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus's rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary, 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to offer a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.

Drawing from Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 40.64mm | 566.99g
  • HarperTorch
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0062237470
  • 9780062237477
  • 989,587

Review quote

It can be challenging to create suspense in a tale for which the ending is known. Pressman does a good job with "50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple s Extraordinary Rescue Mission in the Heart of Nazi Germany," a book whose title pretty much tells it all. --"New York Journal of Books""
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Back cover copy

Two Ordinary Americans.
Fifty Innocent Lives.
One Unforgettable Journey.

In early 1939, few Americans were thinking about the darkening storm clouds over Europe. Nor did they have much sympathy for the growing number of Jewish families that were increasingly threatened and brutalized by Adolf Hitler's policies in Germany and Austria.

But one ordinary American couple decided that something had to be done. Despite overwhelming obstacles--both in Europe and in the United States--Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus made a bold and unprecedented decision to travel into Nazi Germany in an effort to save a group of Jewish children.

Fewer than 1,200 unaccompanied children were allowed into the United States throughout the entire Holocaust, in which 1.5 million children perished. The fifty children saved by the Krauses turned out to be the single largest group of unaccompanied children brought to America.

Drawing from Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.
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Rating details

1,540 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 32% (497)
4 42% (641)
3 22% (339)
2 3% (49)
1 1% (14)
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