About the Book
The Heart Has Reasons
Meetings With Holocaust Rescuers
by Mark Klempner

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Holocaust Rescuers

This is a photo of a Dutch child

imprisoned in the "Crèche" during
the Nazi Occupation of Holland.
(From Vrji Nederland, January 18, 1986)

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They are called "righteous gentiles" or "righteous among the nations" yet the Holocaust rescuers, in some ways, defy definition.  The rescuers are strong, broadminded, often devout, people whose example continues to inspire Christians, Jews, and all people, religious or not religious, who are are interested in ethics, altruism, and true spiritual living.

Since the 1954 release of The Diary of a Young Girl, generations of readers have been fascinated by Holocaust heroes such as Miep Gies, who risked her life in the Netherlands to hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis. In 1971, Dutch rescuer Corrie ten Boom touched the hearts of millions with her poignant autobiography The Hiding Place. Over the next three decades, books about the rescuers have continued to be written. Yet the need still exists today for a book that makes the moving stories and hard-earned wisdom of these "righteous gentiles" truly relevant to contemporary readers.

The Heart Has Reasons is such a book. Portraying the Holocaust rescuers with unprecedented fullness, and revealing intriguing, previously unknown aspects to their lives, these taut narratives become a portal through which readers can gain a glimpse into the rescuers’ souls. Framed by the author’s spiritual quest—one that leads him to the rescuers for answers—it is uniquely positioned to interest people of faith and conscience striving to find their moral bearings in our postmodern world. Indeed, the rescuers’ convictions about contemporary issues gives the book an edgy, startlingly timely appeal. 

If these "righteous gentiles" could remain committed to making a difference while under the boot of the Nazi regime, they surely have something to teach younger generations about being gutsy in addressing injustices, about maintaining an open heart, and about not giving up—even when the forces of ignorance appear to triumph. In our increasingly polarized world in which extreme and violent ideologies threaten to destroy a spirit of understanding and respect between diverse peoples, the words of these "righteous among the nations" could not arrive at a more crucial moment.








Who will be interested in The Heart Has Reasons?   Children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, as well as members of the "religious left," especially progressive Jews, Protestants, and Catholics, who will find The Heart Has Reasons deeply relevant to their spiritual paths and activist pursuits.

An equally important readership will be found among mainline Protestants, moderate evangelicals, and more conservative Catholics and Jews, who will discover in the "righteous gentiles" examples of Good Samaritans who risked their lives to put into practice the Biblical precept to "love thy neighbor as thyself."

A still larger circle is Holocaust readers in general and World War II buffs interested in the Holocaust. If anything puts a human yet inspiring face on the horrific events that transpired during the Nazi occupation, it is the "humanitarian resistance" mounted by the rescuers. History readers, especially, will appreciate the short essays Mark has included throughout the book illuminating the historical and social context in which the rescuers lived.

Beyond this are the millions of baby boomers in the United States, especially "spiritual but not religious" humanitarians and cultural creatives, who will identify with the author and share his fascination with these extraordinary yet seemingly egoless heroes of the Holocaust. Those trying to manifest more compassion and courage in their lives, those seeking to translate their spiritual urges into social action, and those simply trying to find their way back to a more honest way of life will discover compelling insights and valuable direction in The Heart Has Reasons.