Part of the Family by Jason Hensley – Book Review

Part of the Family by Jason Hensley – Book Review

Part of the Family

Part of the Family
Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust

Author – Jason Hensley
Publisher – CreateSpace
Pages – 422
Release Date – 14th May 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-1532740534
Format – ebook, paperback, audio
Reviewer – Clive
I received a free copy of this book
Post Contains Affiliate Links

synopsis of a witch Part of the Family

In 1938 and 1939, the Kindertransport occurred––a movement to bring thousands of Jewish children out of Nazi occupied territories to safety in Great Britain. These children came without their parents, almost always without a knowledge of English, and also little experience with English culture.

They came to a new family, a new country, and a new life. Approximately 250 of these children were sponsored by Christadelphians, a small Christian group. They came and lived in houses with Christadelphian families, or lived in hostels that the Christadelphians had started.

So often the Holocaust is considered in terms of statistics––how many perished and how many were affected. Yet it is often the individual stories that provide the most powerful human connection and the opportunity to learn. Rather than focus on the statistics, this series examines the experiences of these people, who came to England as children, and lived with Christadelphians.

Ten of the former Jewish refugees, and their families, were contacted and collaborated in this effort to bring about this first volume. These are their stories.

Review of a witch

This is certainly not the first book about the Kindertransport, indeed some of the people featured in this book have already had their stories recorded elsewhere in print. What links these experiences is the involvement of the Christadelphian movement, a little known Christian group who had been supporting Jewish emigration to Palestine since the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Kindertransport brought in total around 10,000 Jewish children to the UK. Only 250 of these were sponsored and hosted by Christadelphian families but this was a high proportion for such a small group.

The author Jason Hensley is the Principal of a Californian school; he teaches Religious Studies and is himself a Christadelphian. This book grew from his desire to learn and teach more about the Christadelphian involvement in the Kindertransport programme.

The first part of the book gives the history of the Christadelphian movement and explains their support for the European Jews who had been persecuted for centuries. The second part recounts the experiences of ten children who were sent by their parents in 1938 and 1939 to stay with Christadelphian families in England to escape the Nazis. These children came from Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Free City of Danzig. Each of these chapters starts with specific general information relating to their area or their year of birth.

Most of the children’s experiences are taken from personal interviews with them, their relatives and the relatives of the host families. Not surprisingly there is much sadness and some harrowing tales but alongside them there are stories of heroism and unexpected acts of kindness. The Christadelphian host families are universally acclaimed for their support which was often given in trying circumstances.

As you would expect from a school teacher Part of the Family is well set out and easy to understand. Although Jason does not refer to any current conflicts I found myself comparing their situation with some of the current refugee situations.

The Christadelphian connection could restrict the appeal of this book but I found it an interesting and easy read for which I have awarded four stars.

Book Reviewed by Clive

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About the author of a witch

Jason Hensley part of the family

Jason Hensley, M.Ed, is the principal of a small private school in California. At school, he teaches religious studies and a senior-level course on Christianity and the Holocaust. The material for this book has served as the backbone for the curriculum in the latter course. He frequently lectures on this and related topics throughout North America.

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You can read more about the book over on Jason’s guest post – Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust

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