Based on the acclaimed HBO documentary, 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany ($26.99), is the astonishing true story of how one American couple transported fifty Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Austria to America in 1939--the single largest group of unaccompanied refugee children allowed into the United States.
In early 1939, America's rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to seek safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid. Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to silently stand by. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus's rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary, 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to offer a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.
Steven Pressman was a journalist for more than 30 years, writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and other publications in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. He is the author of a previous work of nonfiction, Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile, and is the writer, director and producer of the HBO documentary film, Fifty Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, former New York publisher Liz Perle, the granddaughter of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus.
Two Ordinary Americans. Fifty Innocent Lives. One Unforgettable Journey.
In early 1939, few Americans were thinking about the darkening storm clouds over Europe. Nor did they have much sympathy for the growing number of Jewish families that were increasingly threatened and brutalized by Adolf Hitler's policies in Germany and Austria.