Monday, January 7, 2013

Doreen Rappaport - Beyond Courage

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport is an amazing new book published by Candlewick Press.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Rappaport in November and received copy of her book.  The few minutes I spent with her as she signed my book is engrained in my memory, she speaks with the same passion.
     This book is powerful and poignant.  These words written by Franta Bass, age eleven (find the remainder of her words on page one and page 196), provide a glimpse into the content of the text:

I am a Jew and will be Jew forever, 
Even if I should die from hunger, 
never will I submit.
I will always fight for my people, 
on my honor...

     Doreen Rappaport shares the courage of the people who, during the war, rallied to stand up to the Nazi regime and face it with courage.  In her book, we learn about thousands of Jewish lives that were saved by the ingenuity, conviction, and tenacity of those who were willing to risk their lives to save others... smuggling children to safety, forging identifications and paperwork, creating secret ways to ensure freedom and hope for those whose lives were changed forever.  In this book, Ms. Rappaport takes on a tough subject and shares stories of survival that would otherwise be lost had she not had the courage to research and write this book.  And, while she states, "the scope and extent of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust cannot possibly be contained in one book," this book is an amazing resource and should find its way into every classroom.  Thankfully, she plans to continue to explore this topic on her website,
     The power of Ms. Rappaport's words and voice made me understand more clearly the tragedy of this time in our world's history.  A perfect addition to any text set about the Holocaust and its impact on humanity.  The photographs and personal accounts shared in this book provide richness and draw us closer to the lives of those who risked everything to save the lives of others.  Ms. Rappaport has written about defiance... about standing up against oppression.  It must have been so daunting for people like George Loinger, Marianne Cohn, Mordechai Anielewizc, and all those whose story she tells to fight for the survival of others.  This book chronicles a harrowing time in our history eloquently, purposefully, and with the same passion that we find in all Ms. Rappaport's writing... every teacher and student should read it.
     The power of story... of sharing story... of remembering story, that's what Beyond Courage does for us.  As long as we have people like Doreen Rappaport, we can never forget!  Powerful.  Beautifully written.  Unforgettable.

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