While recuperating in a hospital after World War II, a Polish refugee wrote at length about his remarkable experiences in war-torn Europe. The Defiant, his memoir, is the account of a young man who refused to yield to the German onslaught and chose instead to become a Jewish resistance fighter. Chronicling the bravery of a small group of men and women who carried on a forest war, this extraordinary book sheds light on events that few know of in this country.
When Nicholas Winton met a friend in Prague in December 1938, he was shocked by the plight of thousands of refugees and Czech citizens desperate to flee from the advancing German army. A British organisation had been set up to help the adults, but who would save the children? Winton felt he could not walk away. He set up a makeshift office and in just three weeks interviewed thousands of distraught parents who had the courage to part with their children and send them alone to England. Armed with their details and photos, he returned to London to convince the Home Office of the urgency of the situation. He knew he was working against time. His supreme efforts resulted in eight trainloads bringing 669, mainly Jewish, children to London. For half a century these children, now dispersed and in their seventies, were unaware of the person to whom they owed their lives. To Winton, it was just a job. Even his wife knew nothing of what is undoubtedly his greatest achievement, until 1988, when clearing out the attic she came across documentation relating to the episode. From that moment, Winton's life was never the same again. Winton has been a remarkable humanitarian all his life. After the war, wishing to be involved with the rehabilitation of Europe's refugees, he worked for international organisations. He retired early, settled in Maidenhead and devoted himself to charitable works for which he was honoured with the MBE in 1983. Amongst other awards, he was granted the freedom of the City of Prague in 1991 and was awarded the Tomas Garrigue Masaryk Order by President Havel in a grand ceremony in Hradcany Castle in 1999. Nicolas Winton documentary (Power of Good) has won the 2002 International Emmy Award, in the category of TV documentary.
"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --The New York Times Book Review
The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel's original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author's classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. "In Night it is the 'I' who speaks," writes Wiesel. "In the other two, it is the 'I' who listens and questions."
In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel's masterful portrayal of one man's exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel's narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel's trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one's religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.
Katherine Forrester Vigneras, in a continuation of her story from The Small Rain, returns to New York City from Europe to retire. Now in her seventies, she encounters an old friend from her Greenwich Village days who, it turns out, is the former Bishop of New York. He asks Katherine to give a benefit concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This leads to new demands on her resources--human, artistic, psychological, and spiritual--that are entirely unexpected.
The publication of Victor Klemperer's secret diaries brings to light one of the most extraordinary documents of the Nazi period. "In its cool, lucid style and power of observation," said The New York Times, "it is the best written, most evocative, most observant record of daily life in the Third Reich." I Will Bear Witness is a work of literature as well as a revelation of the day-by-day horror of the Nazi years.A Dresden Jew, a veteran of World War I, a man of letters and historian of great sophistication, Klemperer recognized the danger of Hitler as early as 1933. His diaries, written in secrecy, provide a vivid account of everyday life in Hitler's Germany. What makes this book so remarkable, aside from its literary distinction, is Klemperer's preoccupation with the thoughts and actions of ordinary Germans: Berger the greengrocer, who was given Klemperer's house ("anti-Hitlerist, but of course pleased at the good exchange"), the fishmonger, the baker, the much-visited dentist. All offer their thoughts and theories on the progress of the war: Will England hold out? Who listens to Goebbels? How much longer will it last? This symphony of voices is ordered by the brilliant, grumbling Klemperer, struggling to complete his work on eighteenth-century France while documenting the ever- tightening Nazi grip. He loses first his professorship and then his car, his phone, his house, even his typewriter, and is forced to move into a Jews' House (the last step before the camps), put his cat to death (Jews may not own pets), and suffer countless other indignities. Despite the danger his diaries would pose if discovered, Klemperer sees it as his duty to record events. "I continue to write," he notes in 1941 after a terrifying run-in with the police. "This is my heroics. I want to bear witness, precise witness, until the very end." When a neighbor remarks that, in his isolation, Klemperer will not be able to cover the main events of the war, he writes: "It's not the big things that are important, but the everyday life of tyranny, which may be forgotten. A thousand mosquito bites are worse than a blow on the head. I observe, I note, the mosquito bites." This book covers the years from 1933 to 1941. Volume Two, from 1941 to 1945, will be published in 1999.