Hadassah: 'N or D' "engages…instructs"

  • October 25, 2010
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Hadassah Magazine’s review in the November issue:

Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 224 pp. $17.99) is a moving work of historical fiction based on the little-known One Thousand Children program endorsed by Eleanor Roosevelt, which rescued Jewish youngsters from Nazi Germany and placed them in American foster homes. Twelve-year-old Edith, her story based on the experience of the author’s own mother, was rescued through the program and traveled alone from her small German village to Chicago.

Schumer Chapman skillfully chronicles the bewildering trans-Atlantic journey, the chaotic arrival in New York and at the home of unwelcoming relatives. Despite her sadness and sense of alienation, she bravely attempts to raise money to help her parents escape from Germany. She takes comfort from the achievements of Hank Greenberg, an American hero who proudly proclaims his Jewishness. Her grief when she learns of her parents’ deaths is somewhat mitigated by her recognition that while one part of her life was ending, another was beginning. Schumer Chapman’s narrative both engages and instructs.

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