When one nation forces occupation on the other, there are two choices: stay silent and hope that you live to see freedom. The other is to fight against the occupier, knowing full well what the consequences could be.
Pam Jenoff‘s new novel, Code Name Sapphire, was published last month. Hannah Martel is on the run from Nazi Germany. After losing her fiance during a pogrom, she hopes that the ship she is on will take her to America and freedom. But it is sent back to Europe ( a la SS St. Louis). With nowhere else to go, she lands in Brussels and moves in with her cousin Lily and Lily’s family.
Instead of laying low, she returns to her previous resistance work, hoping that this will be her ticket out. Joining the group known as Code Name Sapphire, she meets its leader, Micheline, and Micheline’s brother, Matteo. When a mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and put on the list for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah has to choose. She can continue with her resistance work or find a way to undo the damage of her error.
Jenoff does it again. Her narratives are powerful, human, and compelling, and speak to the complications that war creates. One of the things that spoke to me was the perceived comfort that Lily believed was hers. Knowing what we know now, it was merely a smoke screen that temporarily delayed the inevitable.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Code Name Sapphire is available wherever books are sold.
P.S. It is beyond disgusting that once more, the Republican Party appropriates history to fit their needs.
When I was younger and in school, the purpose of the experience was to receive an education. It was not to be target practice for someone who had no business having access to firearms.
On Tuesday, a young man walked into a high school in St. Louis and started shooting. Two lives were lost, a teacher and a fifteen-year-old student. The shooter was killed by police.
The family of this boy claims that they did everything when it came to his mental health problems.
The point, as I see it, has once more been proven. Did this boy have a mental illness? The evidence, as we have it so far, points to yes. However, that does not preclude the fact that this tragedy and others of its ilk are and were preventable.
I would love to know why a civilian needs access to an AR-15. This is why we need common-sense gun control laws. If this child has not been able to get his hands on that weapon, then both of his victims would still be alive.
May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.
P.S. The girl who was killed was less than a month away from her 16th birthday. For anyone who thinks that we do not need to legislate against gun violence should consider this fact before stating that there is no need for measures of this kind.
Last night it was announced that US, UK and France successfully hit its targets in Syria. The airstrike was in response to the chemical attack on the citizens of Douma last weekend.
While the airstrike does it’s job in sending a message to the Syrian regime, there is a component missing that is ignored at least by the current administration: the Syrian refugees who are being prevented from entering the United States. So far this year, only 11 Syrian refugees have been allowed to enter the country.
Since you know who took office last year, the parallels to Nazi Germany have been spoken of frequently.
In May of 1930, the St. Louis sailed from Hamburg to Havana. Most of the passengers were Jews, looking for sanctuary from the destruction and prejudice they were experiencing in Europe.
To make a long story short, the ship was stuck in limbo. Only a handful of the passengers were allowed to disembark in Cuba. America refused to open her doors to those who were still on board. As a result, the ship has to return to Europe. While some of the allied countries took a few passengers, the rest were sent back to Germany. 254 of the passengers were killed in the Holocaust.
While I cannot disagree that we need to protect our borders, we need to open our country up to those who are suffering the most. Military strikes send a message, but so does opening the door and welcoming a people who have lost nearly everything.
But then again, this administration, like the one that turned away the St. Louis seems not to care.
As we all know, the news coming out of Syria the last few days is beyond horrific. Innocent civilians, including young children were murdered by the Assad regime.
You have a choice now. Future generations will judge your Presidency based upon the actions you take.
Before I continue, I feel the need to tell you about the SS St. Louis. On the eve of World War II, the SS St. Louis left Germany for North America. Her passengers were all Jews suffering under the tightening noose of the Nazis. This was their last chance to escape Europe. The ship had to turn around because the borders of North America were closed. By the end of the war, half of those aboard were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.
Syria is one of those countries listed on your Muslim Travel Ban. While I have no problem with vetting potential immigrants to prevent a future terrorist attack, I can’t help but think of the millions that might have survived World War II if only America and other Western countries had opened their borders.
You have a decision to make. You can open our borders (with appropriate vetting) to those who need the sanctuary most or you can keep our borders closed and watch as more innocent Syrian citizens are murdered by their government.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We remember the not just the six million Jews who perished, but the millions of others who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
This Holocaust Remembrance Day feels different. It feels different because Donald Trump has enacted a ban on Muslim immigration to the US. While America in 2017 is not Nazi Germany in 1933, there are echoes of Nazi Germany coming out of the White House. Those echoes should send a chill down the spine of every American citizen and ask them to take a hard look at the man who is the leader of the free world.
I can’t help but think of the millions of lives that could have been saved had America opened her borders when the need was greatest. In May of 1939, the SS St. Louis left Germany with 900 Jewish souls aboard. Upon reaching the Americas, the ship and it’s passengers were rejected. The ship was forced to return to Europe and many of those aboard were killed by the Nazis.
While I understand the need to ensure that those with less than honorable desires are prevented from entering this country, I do not understand why innocent people fleeing persecution and violence should be denied entry into the US. It’s appalling and it breaks my heart.
We say never again every year. Unfortunately, never again has happened again. Not just to the my people, but to other groups as well.