The 1st one was the Books, Inc. 4th Tuesday Evening Book Club meeting at their Palo Alto store. As you know, Margie Scott Tucker, one of the co-owners of the Books, Inc. chain, runs the meetings - and does a great job. I try to get there a few times a year, and I'm doing particularly well so far in 2016. I've been there 3 times already! This time, we talked about the YA, Salt of the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys. You already know what I thought about this one. I reviewed it on April 17 and gave it a 3.5/4. Not only that, but Kathleen, the owner of A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, told me that I have to read her other book, Between Shades of Gray. It's in my TBR pile, Kathleen!
The other event I went to was thanks to Ann Bridges. She told me that Marty Brounstein would be speaking at the JCC in Los Gatos in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is sundown on May 4 until sundown May 5. He has written a book called Two Among the Righteous Few. It's the story of a young Catholic couple from a small town in the Netherlands during WWII who ended up protecting about 2 dozen Jews and saving them from the Nazis. It's an inspirational story, and Marty is an amazing speaker. He told us a bunch of facts about the war. Here are a few of them:
1. 50 million people died during WWII, far and away more than any other conflict in history.
2. Over 50% of all people who died were civilians.
3. 11 million people died in the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews.
4. On 12/8/41 (the day after Pearl Harbor), the U.S. declared war on Japan.
5. Germany & Italy, as allies of Japan (the Axis powers) immediately declared war on the U.S.
6. The Soviet Union would have fallen to the Germans if the U.S. had not stepped in when they did.
7. At the time of the U.S. intervention, the Germans were only 20 miles outside of Moscow.
8. In 1953, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum opened in Jerusalem, honoring Jews and the "righteous non-Jews." The couple that is represented in Marty's book, Frans and Mien Wijnakker, were honored in the museum in 1983.
The personal story of Frans and Mien is unbelievable. I haven't read the book yet, but I intend to do that soon. Of the 2 dozen Jews that Frans and Mien took in, all of them survived. Isn't that incredible? They either hid them or got them placed safely in other homes. Even the local parish priest, although not happy with the situation, did not betray Frans and Mien. Marty highlighted a few of the Jews that the Wijnakkers took in. Two of them were an architect and his pregnant wife. In the most moving part of the evening, Marty introduced his wife, who is the baby that the architect's wife was carrying. I kid you not.
Marty is someone that you should go see in person if you get the opportunity. Here's a little about his background:
He is an author, speaker, and management consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Marty has also been a human resources executive and started his career as an educator, with an emphasis on teaching history, including the Holocaust. His previous books include Communicating Effectively for Dummies, Coaching and Mentoring for Dummies, Managing Teams for Dummies, and Handling the Difficult Employee: Solving Performance Problems.