Into the Arms of Strangers

I’ve been reading books surrounding the events of the Halocaust for research for a young reader’s novel I’m working on set in Nazi Germany. And I thought I’d share the latest book with you.

War has yet to break out; rumors of it are strengthening. Diversity is enhancing and people are growing frightened. There’s a movement taking shape – something about a train leaving for Britain to take your kids to be adopted by families in case of war.

The Kindertransport was an effort to evacuate Jewish kids under 17 from Nazi-occupied countries to be taken to live with British families who were willing to raise them and keep them safe from the Nazi’s clutches.

I went into this book thinking it would be an uplifting, go-happy, redemptive story. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Written by first-person accounts, it’s heartbreaking to read about the parents sending their children off on trains promising to see them soon, when, in their hearts they knew they would likely never see their children again.

Many of them never did.

Several children were adopted for the wrong reasons and were abused, mistreated, or neglected.

And the aftermath of several kinders revisiting their childhood homes, the platform where they departed from their parents, the camps their parents were sent to, as older citizens, is just heart-wrenching.

Yet, through these first-person accounts, you can really get a feel for what life was like back in Europe during the War. If you’re into this period of history, I would highly recommend this book as a sort of parenthesis in the middle of the big picture of everything else that was going on. (Oh, by they way, here’s a story about several children who made it out alive…)

It’s called¬†Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport¬†by Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer.

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About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

21 Responses to Into the Arms of Strangers

  1. My dear friend Fred, now sadly dead, was a kinder. He arrived in the UK with nothing but the shirt on his back not speaking a word of English. It was to save his life but he would still weep even as an 80 year old of the day he left his parents in Hungary and still slept with his nazi stamped passport under his pillow.

    Thank you for sharing details of this book – I’ll def look out and read with thoughts of my friend

    As an aside, the single best book I’ve read about the holocaust / life in the camps is ‘a doctors account’ by Miklos Nyiszli, the story of a Hungarian pathologist forced to work for the Nazis in Auschwitz. It is well worth reading
    All the best
    Lindsey

  2. dfrantz1953 says:

    I am actually interviewing my mother for a book about growing up in Holland during the Nazi occupation. She is now 80 and it’s difficult to get details. I’m going to Holland this fall to visit and get a sense of Holland and visit the little town where she grew up. If you come across any other books, I would love to read them. Right now I’m reading a diary by Johanna Wycoff published in 2010. The title is Dancing in Bomb Shelters: My Diary of Holland in World War II. Just started it.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. Amongst so much evil; there was as much good. By the grace of God, these children were saved.

  4. Harliqueen says:

    It is good when writers can remind people of what happened in history, especially times like those that should never be forgotten.

  5. I enjoyed Bodie and Brock Thoene’s books set around the time of WWII for a fictional take on some of these events…also Bonhoeffer, but I realize there are differing opinions on the latter. Best wishes with your endeavor about the Holocaust.

  6. The classic memoir is “Night” by Elie Wiesel about his boyhood in a Nazi concentration camp. I have read it in class with high school seniors, and they were deeply affected.

  7. kathyclem says:

    Very touching the story of Sir Nicholas Winton. Thank you so much for finding me and following my blog. I really appreciate this. Now I will be able to follow yours.

  8. Patty B says:

    It was such a sad time – I look forward to reading your book even though it is geared for children I think this book will be something we should all read. The horrors of that time is still so fresh to many survivors and we should never forget what evil was capable then and still in some parts of the world today. This story needs to be told. Brock and Bodie Thoene opened a door for me to learn more about the German underground and about the brave men and women who tried to help these innocent children and other Jewish families. I am incorporating some of the German underground and along with my mothers life into a fiction book. She rarely spoke of that time in her life but through her life, I hope to share that not all German people were bad and many tried to help as they also tried to survive.

  9. thank you for sharing this. i was able to find a copy of the book on amazon to send to my granfather.

  10. Elaine says:

    Thank you for sharing this story!

  11. jnitro519 says:

    Ive been reading lot of ya books that i forgot there are a lot more different books have to offer. i will definitely look for a copy of this.. Ur write-up made me more interested. Thanks for sharing this.

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