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Dr. Carol Rittner, a sister of mercy, is Director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation. She is also the editor, with Sondra Myers, of The Courage to Care: The Rescue of Jews During the Holocaust, published by New York University Press, and co-producer of and award winning documentary by the same name. Sondra Myers is a national leader in the arts, humanities, and education. She is President fo the National Federation of State Humanities Councils, and Chairman f the States Arts Advocacy League. For the past five years, she has served, by presidential appointment, on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. In addition to her organization and institutional service, Mrs. Myers is a frequent writer, and speaker, and a consultant for special projects. She was the executive co-producer of the film, "The Courage to Care."
This companion volume to an Academy Awardnominated documentary of the same title is edited by the film's coproducers and celebrates those ``righteous Gentiles'' who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The insightful, first-person oral reflections of rescuers, survivors and Holocaust scholars are eloquent and moving in their simplicity. Pacifism, Christianity, happy home lives, moral outrage and personal friendships are cited as factors in the acts of heroism performed by isolated individuals, as well as entire communities (the Dutch village of Niuvelande; Le Chambon in France) and countries (Denmark). Particularly striking is the modesty of the rescuers who epitomize the ``banality of goodness'': ``We still don't think what we did in the war was a big deal. . . . We don't like to be called heroes,'' says Johtje Vos, who hid 36 people in Holland. Photos. (September 17)
A companion volume to the film of the same title, this collection of personal testimonies of rescuers and survivors recounts some of the heroic activities of non-Jews on behalf of Jews in various European countries during the Holocaust. Elegantly crafted with old pictures of the principals, this engaging but all-to-brief book provides a refreshingly uplifting record of truly compassionate people willing to risk their lives for their fellows. While some attribute their actions to parental upbringing, others to religious or humanitarian impulses, most see their rescue efforts as unspectacular and natural. Greenberg provides a historical overview and Wiesel and others reflect on why some took risks while most did not. This will appeal to scholars and laypersons alike. Benny Kraut, Judaic Studies Dept., Univ. of Cincinnati