Monday, March 23, 2020

Review of "The Righteous Few: Two Who Made A Difference," by Marty Brounstein

Review of

The Righteous Few: Two Who Made A Difference, by Marty Brounstein ISBN 9780757004971

Five out of five stars

 When the Nazi party under Hitler rose to power in Germany in the 1930’s, it personified and magnified what was systemic Anti-Semitism in Europe. The majority of people were tolerant of the Jewish populations in their countries, but not endeared to them. Once these countries were invaded and occupied by Germany, it was clear to all that the Jews were at great risk, although a great deal was done by the Germans to keep their ultimate fate from the occupied populations.

 Fortunately for the human species, there were some people willing to shelter Jewish people during the war, even with the clear threat of imprisonment or death. Two such people were Frans and Mien Wijnakker, a Dutch couple that willingly took Jewish people into their rural home to protect them from being consumed by the German death machine. This book is their story.

 Since the Holocaust is a matter of historical fact, that is not an interesting feature of this book. What is the most significant aspect is that the people around the Wijnakker’s knew what they were doing, yet none of them reported it to the Germans. Which could have earned them a significant bounty from the Germans at a time when the Dutch people were suffering. In the last year of the German occupation in World War II, between 18,000 and 22,000 Dutch people died of starvation due to German action in preventing food shipments.

 Another interesting point is how the local Catholic priest reacted to the knowledge of Jews being harbored by Catholics. He expressed his disapproval, yet never reached the point of tattling. Through it all, the Wijnakker’s held firm in their position of helping, earning them the title of members of the “Righteous Few” club. It is a great story about courage in the face of great danger and potential death.

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