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The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage Hardcover – Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: The Pilgrim Press (Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829816992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829816990
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,575,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Powerful stories" -- Publishers Weekly, 9 January 2006

"Powerful stories. . . the lessons learned from the resisters and the application of those lessons for today's world is a highlight." -- Publishers Weekly

"Superbly presented. . . an important addition to Holocaust literature." -- Midwest Book Review, July 9, 2006

"These poignant stories shed light on one of the darkest episodes in the twentieth century." -- Booklist

"When one thinks the stories have reached the end, Klempner's book
unfolds yet more fascinating, insightful sections." -- Medina Gazette, July 7, 2006

"When one thinks the stories have reached the end, Klempner's book unfolds yet more fascinating, insightful sections." -- Medina-Gazette, July 7, 2006

Klempner presents the stories and wisdom of those few who risked
their lives to try to save their Jewish neighbours. -- The Guardian, December 30, 2006

Klempner strikes a masterful balance.... a remarkable contribution
to the literature of the social history of this war. -- The Oral History Review (U.S.), Summer/Fall 2006

Klempner's relationship with the rescuers worked at many deep
levels.... The portraits in the book are honest and complex. -- Catholic New Times (Canada), November 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 8 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
As those who celebrated the construction of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. worked hard to make clear, we are reaching an important point in the history of the world - there will soon be no survivors of the World War II period left alive. The commentary on the presidential elections in France mentioned that this is the first set of candidates for the high office with no experience of the war. This same situation is true for those who experienced the Holocaust, in its various dimensions - there will soon be no one left alive to tell the story directly. In a world where Holocaust denial ebbs and flows, this becomes a problem. Projects such as Mark Klempner's `The Heart Has Reasons' are truly important, in helping to keep alive the memory of those who had direct experience.

Most people in the Western world are familiar with the Diary of Anne Frank, but fewer are aware that there were many stories of heroism among the Dutch during the war. However, the overall survival rate of Jews in Holland was among the lowest in occupied Western Europe. There were people who helped hide and shelter Jewish people, at tremendous risk to their own lives. `Those who decided to help Jews in Holland had to be willing to disobey the Nazi measures and resist the Nazi machinations to relegate Jews to subhuman status. They had to cross the line from being law-abiding citizens to enemies of the state. They had to act from the heart, come what may.' This book is about ten different people who took it upon themselves to come between the Nazi efforts and those who would be victims.

Mark Klempner is listed in the credits as a folklorist and oral historian.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on 17 Dec. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book, but it feels strange to say so. How can someone enjoy reading about such a tragic time in history? I think I enjoyed it because it contains so many moving stories of humanity and survival. It is really uplifting to read of the lengths to which ordinary people went to help strangers. I also liked the way the book made me feel as if I got to know each one of the rescuers intimately, as if, should I pass one of them on the street, I would feel natural going up to him or her as to an old friend. The book really made me think of the sacrifice that some people made. It's difficult to get that out of a movie because you see the characters for a couple hours on the screen, and then it's over. This book made me realize they are real people who, day after day, risked their lives to help others, and the war went on for years. And then for years afterwards they were affected by what they did--for their entire lives, actually--in all kinds of ways.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Great Book 8 April 2006
By Mary loves Murder - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Give till it hurts" and "Give as good as you've got" was the creed my grandmother and my mother taught their children, and that permeated their own lives. This book is about Dutch people who lived this creed in dire circumstances, so dire the world had never imagined them before. It gives us the words and motivations of 10 of the luminous people who surely redeemed some bit of the evils of the Holocaust. The author is a skilled interviewer and gifted storyteller, a man who looks at truth straight on. His book is an easy read, an illuminating inspiration, an unusual penetration of the good in human hearts. It ends with a thoughtful analysis of victim and perpetrator of true evil, and those who intervened. It's an outstanding achievement! I look forward to hearing about the awards it's sure to receive.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Altruism 1 May 2006
By Diane Ruth - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In a world where "if it bleeds it leads," we come to think news=disaster and war=history. Cheers for a book that shines the spotlight on persons of extraordinary virtue. This book celebrates individuals who rescued Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. And addresses that essential question: how can one person make a difference?

All of these heroes risked death, torture and ruin to help strangers. Even after reading these accounts, I am boggled by their altruism. Klempner refers to the Judaic myth of the righteous individuals whose goodness holds up the world. That metaphor communicates just how significant these stories are for us all.

Klempner avoids pat explanations. He lets the rescuers tell their stories in their own ways, giving their own rationales. He separates out his own personal history, which is a story in its own right. And also separates out some fine short essays that place the material in a historical context.

The narratives are not homogenized into a smooth package. Think of these gems as displayed in their natural state, not cut and mounted. Which preserves the authenticity of the historical record.

For students of history and ethics, these stories offer a springboard to discussion and further research. While not lengthy, this book packs some highly concentrated food for thought in its brown wrapper.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An antidote to the banality of evil 1 May 2006
By Sarada George - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Why?" This is the question I'm often left with after reading about Holocaust rescuers. They often seem far above ordinary humans, out of the sphere of people like me - but not in this book. The Heart Has Reasons shows rescuers in the context of their lives, as people who have learned to perceive, evaluate, and think for themselves. In the words of one of them, they do "not accept oversimplified answers". Their cultural and life histories helped them see everyone as equally human with themselves. Their answers, direct or indirect, to the question of why they helped the Jews invariably return to these ideas and often describe a journey of very small beginnings. In demystifying these Dutch rescuers, Klempner in no way diminishes them or their achievements. Indeed, their nobility is increased, as they become realistic examples of what ordinary people can do to change history. In letting the rescuers tell their own stories, interspersed with historical perspective and philosophical and personal commentary, Klempner effectively shows us the traits we must nurture in all children. A true storyteller, he lets his subject dictate its form. As we get to know the rescuers, we start with the usual question and end up each time with, perhaps, the only answer that can prevent other Holocausts.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Touching and relevant 14 April 2006
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Heart Has Reasons was a surprise to me. The stories in this book are, in my opinion, less about the specific place in history that they occurred, but rather more about what we as human beings are capable of.

Before reading this book, I was not terribly informed about the situation and climate of Holland during the rise of the Germans prior to and during WWII. These stories remind us that the worst of human behavior, the most absolute and utter evil, is balanced by the best that humanity has to offer. These are people who risked everything to try, in some small way, to combat the horror they saw. They did it without reward or recognition. It's important to be reminded of what people just like us are able to do; the world we live in today is no different.

Mr. Klempner lets the reader inside the lives of these rescuers as well as his own. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it highly.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Finding hope in a hopeless time 10 May 2006
By Richard Silverstein - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mark Klempner, at one time a Los Angeles session musician beset with a spiritual crisis, eventually decided to return to graduate school where he became interested in exploring the Dutch response to the Holocaust. His nine years of painstaking research have come to fruition with the publishing of 'The Heart Has Reasons.'

There is no way round the fact that the Holocaust is perhaps the darkest event in all of human history. In studying it, you must be prepared for heartbreak, for tears and for deep anger. These aren't emotions that most of us wish to confront--at least not very often.

But there are stories that break out of the mold of such horror by recounting the humanity that somehow took hold of a few select individuals during that otherwise hopeless time. These are the Righteous Gentiles who endangered themselves and their families for an idea, a principle that human beings in need were worth helping. Everything in their world told them not to do it. Their very lives were at risk for violating rules against helping Jews. Yet they did it anyway. Why did they?

These simple, yet profound questions are what informs Mark Klempner's remarkable profile of four Dutch rescuers who saved Jews. This book also serves another critical role. Holocaust survivors and rescuers are dying out quickly. We must save their testimony about what happened and what they did. Otherwise, our memories will find a blank page where this heroism should be written.

The world owes Klempner a debt of gratitude for this profound work.
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