The Heart Has Reasons by Mark Klempner

Get The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage

The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage is available at most places where books are sold, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbooks, and other online outlets.

Electronic editions are also available from both Amazon and Google that can be viewed on a wide variety of electronic devices including your personal computer.

Remember that you can request The Heart Has Reasons at your local library. If you are a student, you can ask that your school library get a copy. Give your librarian the ISBN number: 0829816992.

If you would like to buy a signed copy directly from the author for $20 USD, please click on the box below. This option utilizes Google Checkout, is available in more than 100 countries, and includes free shipping.

Outside the U.S., The Heart Has Reasons may be purchased from merchants in Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. To order the book from other countries, please contact the author.

The Heart Has Reasons Blog: News About The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage

October 2009: The Heart Has Reasons Hits #1 in Kindle Edition

The Heart Has Reasons is currently the bestselling children's book about the Holocaust at Amazon's Kindle Store. It also holds the #3 spot in the category of children's history books.

Though we celebrate this milestone, we would like to point out that The Heart Has Reasons is not a book intended for elementary school children but rather is appropriate for middle school and high school readers. Of course, it also has many readers at the college level, and, in fact, is being used as a textbook at the university level.

It is an interesting that the simple language of the rescuers, quoted extensively by Klempner to the point that the rescuer's words comprise most of the text, makes the book extremely accessible to children. As a general rule, if a child is mature enough to read The Diary of Anne Frank, he or she is old enough to read The Heart Has Reasons.

April 2009: The Heart Has Reasons is a Kindle Bestseller

The Heart Has Reasons is now available digitally from If you have a Kindle player, you can download it from Amazon.

Though written primarily for adults, The Heart Has Reasons is currently a top-five bestseller at the Kindle Store in the category of Holocaust books for children. This may be due in part to Lois Lowry’s generous statement in support of the book.

Mark Klempner has started to hear from some of these young readers, such as a ten-year-old girl in Riverdale, Bronx who sent him the following email:

“My class is currently learning about World War 2 and we had to pick a book to read, about anything in World War 2. I wanted to choose something about the Holocaust because it interests me As I was reading your book, I kept thinking, 'Wow what a great story! I can't believe that actually happened!' Those stories were so amazing. I was so inspired by them, especially Hetty’s, Clara's, and Ted's. It would make the world a better place if there were more people like them. I love to write, and my dream is to write books when I am older. I'm so happy I chose to read your book and not another book.”

July 2008: The Heart Has Reasons Inspires Prize-Winning Essay

The Anti-Defamation League and the Carl Frohm Foundation recently sponsored an essay contest for high school students about Holocaust rescuers that drew more than five hundred entries. The winning entry in the early grades category (9th and 10th) was entitled “Rut Matthijsen” and was inspired by one of the rescuers featured in The Heart Has Reasons. In the essay, the young author summarizes the Rut's story as told in the book and explains what it has meant to her personally. Here are a few highlights: “Rut Matthijsen's story fascinated me beyond measure and has made a big impact on my life. He was an ordinary person who became an extraordinary person because he acted in accordance with his own belief system while living in an immoral society....

“When I first came to my high school I heard about an organization called Angel For a Day. This is an opportunity for high school students to take part in helping out the less fortunate kids of Omaha, Nebraska. I joined this club excited to help out the young kids.... “Learning about what Rut did with the young Jewish children inspires me tremendously to continue making a difference in these kids' lives. The looks on their innocent faces when we work with them is one of the greatest feelings I can encounter. I could only imagine the faces of the Jewish children after Rut saved hundreds of their lives. The things Rut did for these kids only increases my determination to help out other kids in the world. I hope someday I can change lives of hundreds just like Rut Matthijsen did.”

She ends with a quote from Charles DuBois:

“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

January 2008: The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage Gets Reviewed in Journal of Ecumenical Studies

A review of The Heart Has Reasons recently appeared in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. The following is an excerpt:

“This is another book about the Holocaust, but it is also a book about heroism that transcends rationality and testifies to the spirituality of the human species, despite the brutality of which we are capable. Mark Klempner tells the stories of ten young Dutch men and women who were confronted with the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and with the sight of homeless Jewish children wandering in the streets. These people banded together to find safe havens for the children, outwitting both the Nazi occupiers and their Dutch fascist collaborators.

“On the margins of his heroes’ stories, Klempner tells his own: having recurrent nightmares at age twelve, after seeing concentration camp footage; being raised “Jewish-lite,” as he puts it; finding himself surrounded by a culture materially rich but spiritually empty. Running from meaninglessness, he found help in a suicide prevention and crisis center and later, in college, obtained a grant that allowed him to interview Dutch rescuers of Jews. Those conversations introduced him to the deep wells of his heritage, where he discovered Judaism’s interweaving of social justice with spirituality. The experience changed his life and gave birth to The Heart Has Reasons....

“This book belongs alongside the multitude of other works of Holocaust research and scholarship. Besides information, it presents real human faces and inspiration for our better natures. Well-written and highly accessible to average readers, it is a book for sharing and giving that would make an excellent choice for book clubs, as well as synagogues and churches interested in interreligious dialogue.”

September 2007: New opinion pieces and social commentary by Mark Klempner

Since completing The Heart Has Reasons, Mark has turned his attention to contemporary issues and culture. One result is a string of opinion pieces that have appeared in mainstream newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun and Christian Science Monitor, as well as online at the Huffington Post and elsewhere. If you'd like to know more about Mark’s current thinking, you can find links to most of these pieces on the articles page.

August 2007: Mark Klempner shares another response from a “hidden child”

My correspondence with the Cohen family continued this month when I heard from Shimon Cohen's younger sister:

“I too was one of the ‘hidden children.’ Last summer Shimon and Fien gave me your book for my 70th birthday. I put it aside assuming it was another dry history lesson from those terrible years. I just couldn't get myself to read it, until Shimon called me last month and asked me if I had read it. After I confessed to him that I hadn’t, he assured me that this was a totally different book than he had [first] expected, and he urged me to read it too. Which I did, and I couldn't put it down . . . It is masterfully crafted, articulate, but, above all, so sensitively and perceptively written, and still a scholarly work!!!”

Thanks for all those exclamation points, Sophia, and for your lovely message. As I told Shimron, such emails really keep me going. And, as I've said many times, I am honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to convey the stories and wisdom of the rescuers.

June 2007: Mark Klempner shares some responses to The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage

Though my book has been out for over a year, it continues to get reviews, and I continue to get letters from readers.

Fr. Kurt Messick's recent Amazon review is more in-depth and thoughtful than many of the “professional” reviews I've received. Kudos to Fr. Kurt for his service to me and thousands of other authors, as well as to hundreds of thousands of readers: he has written 2,250 reviews for Amazon and received more than ten times that many helpful votes. No wonder he is a Top 10 Amazon Reviewer!

Then yesterday I received this wonderful email from a survivor named Shimon Cohen:

“I read your book The Heart has Reasons, and hasten me to compliment you on a solid piece of research. Both my wife and I are so-called child survivors of the Holocaust in Holland and we can vouch for the accuracy of your stories. At least two of the rescuers you interviewed, Hetty Voute and Rut Matthijsen, were actively involved in the rescue of us and our siblings, and thanks to them, their comrades (some of whom were executed or perished in concentration camps) and the people who risked their lives to house us, we are here today.”

He goes on to call the book a “masterpiece,” and a “pearl,” and then his wife Fien chimes in with “Yes, research, accuracy, depth is important, but the sensitivity of your approach is what makes your book so special.”

Well, you can imagine how this letter made my day.

I want to thank everyone who has written; your letters keep me going as I strive to make daily progress on my next book.

More about that another time.

February 2007: Meet Mark Klempner this spring on his book tour!

Mark Klempner will be touring in NYC and DC this April, and he invites you to attend one of the many events at which he will be speaking and/or signing books. These include appearances at the Riverside Church in Manhattan (April 15, 1-3 pm), the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park (April 16, 1-3 pm), and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. (April 22, 1-4 pm). For further details, view my complete tour schedule. See you then!

January 2007: Chapter from The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage reprinted in The Friends Journal

The Friends Journal, the main publication read by Quakers in the United States, has serialized a chapter from The Heart Has Reasons in its January 2007 issue.

December 2006: The Heart Has Reasons is praised by the Guardian.

The Guardian, one of Great Britain’s leading newspapers, included The Heart Has Reasons in its year-end wrap up of recommended titles: “For those of us addicted to Holocaust memoirs, 2006 was a banner year, with the release, among others, of Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost (HarperCollins) and Mark Klempner’s The Heart Has Reasons (Pilgrim Press). The two books complement each other in that, to use Elie Wiesel’s nomenclature, The Lost is ‘night’ while The Heart Has Reasons is ‘dawn.’ Mendelsohn dives headfirst into the dark tale of what the Nazis did to his forebears in Poland, while Klempner presents the stories and wisdom of those few Dutch people who risked their lives to try to save their Jewish neighbours.”

November 2006: The Oral History Review praises The Heart Has Reasons as “a remarkable contribution”

The current issue of the Oral History Review, the journal of the American Oral History Association published by the University of California Press, contains a three page review of The Heart Has Reasons that concludes: “Klempner strikes a masterful balance between self-revelation and scholarly restraint. He tells his narrators as well as his readers why his own history makes him so intensely engaged in this subject, and later he reflects on the ways the interviews have changed him. Through the oral histories he presents here, the Netherlands during this most terrible of times becomes known on a personal level and on a societal level, as well. The narrators reflect not only on the wartime experience but also on its effects on their lives ever after. Resistance work presented in the entire context of these lives is a remarkable contribution to the literature of the social history of this war. This is a book that will haunt any reader; needless to say, it can profitably be used in courses in modern European history.”

Read also the wonderful review in the November issue of the Catholic New Times, a Canadian monthly based in Toronto.

September 2006: Holocaust rescuers give The Heart Has Reasons two thumbs up.

Mark Klempner writes: “My most important readers are the rescuers themselves. They entrusted me with their stories, as well as their deepest insights and convictions, and were counting on me to “get it right.” I’m therefore pleased—and relieved!—to report that they have had a very positive response to the book. Piet Meerburg could hardly contain his enthusiasm over the phone, calling it “a masterpiece,” and Kees Veentra described it as “first-rate.” Considering that Piet has a whole book shelf of Holocaust literature, and that Kees was a bookseller for forty years, I was especially touched by their assessments. Rut Matthijsen and Gisela Söhnlein also wrote with positive comments, and have ordered multiple copies for their children. The only rescuer I have not heard from is Clara Dijkstra, whose command of English is not sufficient to enable her to read it. A publisher in Amsterdam is currently considering a Dutch edition, so perhaps I will eventually be able to send her a copy in her native language.”

July 2006: Midwest Book Review gives The Heart Has Reasons five stars

“Enhanced with an informative foreword by Christopher R. Browning, The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers And Their Stories Of Courage by folklorist and oral historian Mark Klempner is the account of how many valiant people worked at great personal peril through the Holocaust and Hitler’s reign to save Jewish children and others from being murdered in the Nazi death camps. Guiding readers through the epic and heroic tales of these Dutch rescuers, The Heart Has Reasons vividly recounts the deeply terrifying efforts of ten gallant individuals. Superbly presented and an important addition to the growing library of Holocaust literature, The Heart Has Reasons is very highly recommended reading, especially for all historians and students of the Dutch involvement in World War II.”

May 2006: The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage a bestseller

Christian Century Magazine has named The Heart Has Reasons a bestseller among books published by religious presses. They also indicate that it is currently the Pilgrim Press' #1 book. The Pilgrim Press, by the way, is descended from the original Pilgrim Press of the 17th century, and, as such, has the distinction of being the oldest press in the United States..