|Rescued in 1939 by Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus (center): 50 children/courtesy HBO|
This week, I had a chance to do a little of that in stories I wrote for both the Foward and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
I was drawn to the story of Philadelphia lawyer Gilbert Kraus and his wife Eleanor and how they rescued 50 Jewish children from Vienna in 1939 because, coincidentally, my own father escaped Vienna and arrived in New York just 18 days before these children.
I wrote a year ago about a documentary that was previewed in Philadelphia (see link here) which brought up for me my father's own experience.
It has been reworked and will air April 8, 2013 on HBO at 9 p.m. and is called "50 Children: the Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus."
Here are links to the stories I wrote for the Inquirer and the Forward. Each is written differently.
How did this story come to light? Eleanor Kraus wrote a memoir of their extraordinary mission. Decades later, when her granddaughter married a journalist, Steve Pressman, he was blown away by the detail, the danger, the daring.
It's worth watching the film, narrated by Alan Alda and Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter.) And I am so glad I got to know at least one of those rescued, Kurt Herman, whose sense of humor and optimism -- and simultaneously his ice cold view of who you can really count on in life -- remind me so much of my father.