Featured Book: The Silent Heroes by Hans Moederzoon Van Kuilenburg

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The Silent Heroes: A Memoir of Holland During World War II is a true story of heroism, survival, and resistance by ordinary people living during extraordinary times.

World War II was marked by fear, despair, and hardship for those living under Nazi occupation. Author Hans Moederzoon van Kuilenburg was a 10-year-old girl living in Amsterdam, when German soldiers invaded Holland in the spring of 1940. The Dutch wanted to stay neutral in the war because its military was no match for the Germans. But within five days, Holland had fallen. The next five years were among the darkest in Dutch history, culminating in the “hunger winter” of 1944, in which 30,000 Dutch people died of hunger and cold.

Ordinary citizens like the author’s father fought back in any way they could to mitigate the German war machine. A civilian supervisor of marine supplies, he stole food and clothing from the Germans to feed and clothe Dutch people in need. Eventually his activities attracted notice and he was imprisoned. Says van Kuilenburg, “My mother, with the help of our family doctor, got him out of the claws of the so feared SS. This is his story and that of other Dutch heroes who risked their own lives to help others.”
Continue reading “Featured Book: The Silent Heroes by Hans Moederzoon Van Kuilenburg”

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Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

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Across Great Divides chronicles the story of Eva and Inge, two identical twin sisters growing up in Nazi Germany. As Jews, life becomes increasingly difficult for them and their family under the oppressive and anti-Semitic laws of the Nazis. Then, after witnessing the horrors of Kristallnacht, they realize they must leave their beloved homeland if they hope to survive.

Unsure of where to go, they travel to Antwerp, Belgium, and then on to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, chasing the diamond trade in hopes of finding work for their father, a diamond cutter and jeweler by trade. Finally, they find a home for themselves in the beautiful country of South Africa and begin to settle down.

But just as things begin to feel safe, their new home becomes caught up in it’s own battles of bigotry and hate under the National Party’s demand for an apartheid South Africa. Eva and Inge wonder if they will ever be allowed to live in peace, though they cling to the hope for a better day when there will be “an understanding of the past, compassion for all humanity, and …hope and courage to move forward across great divides.” Continue reading “Across Great Divides by Monique Roy”