Foreword Reviews

Part of the Family

Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust - Volume 1

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Part of the Family recalls the terrors of the Holocaust while commemorating heroic humanitarian efforts that saved lives.

As pointed out in Jason Hensley’s new work of Holocaust history, the terrible statistics of mass murder can sometimes overwhelm individual stories of survival. Part of the Family recreates ten of those stories in a series of profiles that are both heartrending and heartwarming.

The book focuses on the movement prior to World War II known as the “kindertransport,” when Jewish children were rescued from Nazi-occupied territories and adopted by families in Great Britain. Recounted in detail are the stories of ten children who participated in the program and found homes with British residents of the Christadelphian faith.

Faith plays an important role in this compelling journalistic history. Before getting into the specifics of each child, the book does a good job of setting the scene for the emigration program and describing the violent wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the European continent. Called out in this preliminary section are Christian sects that either ignored the rising anti-Semitism or participated in it. The book explains the Christadelphian faith, what differentiates it from other sects, and how its members strove to aid persecuted Jews just before the outbreak of World War II. In this way, Part of the Family offers some interesting religious history to complement its Holocaust survivor stories.

The ten stories make up the bulk of the book. Each chapter is a profile of a different child. All the profiles include the children’s birthplaces, accounts of their early lives, their struggles with anti-Semitism, the often perilous trips to Great Britain, and the new families that would give them shelter. Photographs, passports, excerpts from letters, and other documentary features accompany each narrative and provide inimitable first-person accounts of the long, emotionally harrowing journeys to freedom and safety. Investigations into the children’s Jewish families back in Germany, Poland, and other Nazi territories are heartrending. Few parents and siblings survived the Holocaust. The book traces the murders of family members in Jewish ghettos and extermination camps. These victims join the numbing statistics of mass genocide, but with faces and names.

Heartwarming are the photographs and stories of the child survivors in Great Britain, many who grew up to raise families of their own. Seeing the survivors flourish in the present day is evidence of the better side of humanity. By highlighting these success stories, Part of the Family recalls the terrors of the Holocaust while commemorating heroic humanitarian efforts that saved lives. It illuminates the Christadelphian faith as well as the resilience of the Jewish people. It’s a welcome addition to Holocaust history and literature.

Reviewed by Scott Neuffer

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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