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A 67-Year Reunion Of Wartime Survivors, Inspired Past Times Google Books

(Cross-posted on the Inside Google Books blog)

From fourth dimension to time, nosotros invite guests to post most items of interest. We're pleased to have got James Keeffe, III, author of the award-winning Two Gold Coins in addition to a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot in addition to POWtell us an amazing storey most how Google Books helped reunite a Holocaust survivor in addition to a World War II veteran. -Ed.

Last year, my distributor Epicenter Press uploaded my book, Two Gold Coins in addition to a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot in addition to POW, to Google Books. The mass is a memoir of the WWII experiences of my father, James H. Keeffe, Jr., equally told to me. He was an American B-24 bomber airplane pilot who, on his quaternary mission during the war, was shot downward over Southern Kingdom of the Netherlands in addition to taken inwards past times the Dutch Underground. He spent the adjacent 5 months evading capture past times staying inwards several security houses inwards Rotterdam. In i of the homes, owned past times a doc Jappe-Alberts, a Jewish family—father, woman nurture in addition to eight-year-old daughter—hid upwards inwards the attic.

About 6 months ago, I received an electronic mail that sent shivers upwards my spine. It was from the same Jewish family's daughter, directly called Helen Cohen-Berman:

Dear Sir,

I've institute this mass a few 24-hour interval agone at the internet. I am the petty missy from the Cohen identify unit of measurement who was hidden together amongst Jim at the Jappe-Alberts family. I was 8 years old. I've read a business office of the mass already on the network in addition to my boy inwards the USA ordered it. It's unbelievable to detect all this after in addition to thence many years... We are directly living inwards State of Israel since 1978. I would similar to larn out a authorities notation amongst these data for the author in addition to his manlike somebody nurture equally a sign of life. Can you lot give me an email-address? Forwarding is about other possibility!

With regards,
Helen Cohen-Berman
Imagine my surprise! All my dad knew most the Cohens at this signal was that they had eventually been captured past times the Nazis, who likewise shot doc Jappe-Alberts in addition to sent his identify unit of measurement to prison.

Left: Photo of 19-year-old James from Oct 1942, Right: Photo of 9-year-old Helen from 1945

Helen, my manlike somebody nurture in addition to I began emailing each other quite often. Helen, directly 76 years old, told us that after all these decades, it had been fourth dimension for her to come upwards to grips amongst her memories of the war. Her missy suggested that she search for the elevate "Jappe-Alberts” in addition to the identify "Rotterdam" on Google. Two results significant came up. The source was a memorial to 10 men shot past times the Nazis on a reason route due south of Rotterdam, including doc Jappe-Alberts. The instant was the division of my mass on Google Books that had the elevate Jappe-Alberts inwards it. Helen began to read that business office of the mass and, lo in addition to behold, realized she was reading most herself equally a immature missy in addition to her family.

She told us that, though her identify unit of measurement had been sent to Westerbork, a transit/concentration military camp inwards North Holland, after beingness captured, they survived the war. The track arrangement inwards the Netherlands past times that fourth dimension was in addition to thence damaged that the Nazis could non deed whatever to a greater extent than people from transit camps similar Westerbork to the operate past times camps of Federal Republic of Federal Republic of Germany in addition to Poland. Westerbork—along amongst the Cohens—was eventually liberated past times the Canadians.

Six months after Helen's electronic mail to me, after much planning, Helen flew to Seattle in addition to was reunited amongst my manlike somebody nurture on September 13, 2011. Sixty-seven years had passed since in conclusion they saw each other. It was a real moving experience—all possible because of Google Books.

After 67 years, Helen in addition to James were reunited inwards James' Seattle home

I was greatly honored to have got been able to choose my manlike somebody nurture in addition to Helen together again. Helen said the reunion was a "closing of a circle" in addition to a healing fourth dimension for her equally she was finally able to utter most about of the events she had endured. For my father, the reunion was a joyful occasion. Meeting Helen allowed him to attain amount inwards about gaps, in addition to detect out the details of her family's capture in addition to imprisonment. He was real happy to see Helen in addition to quite sorry when it was fourth dimension to country goodbye.

At their reunion, I kept looking at them both, directly inwards their after years, trying unsuccessfully to imagine what it must have got been similar when they were immature in addition to living nether the fist of the Nazi occupation. Always the threat of instant in addition to oftentimes brutal operate past times weighed heavily on them, soundless they both survived—and 67 years after were standing side past times side, telling each other, in addition to us, their stories.

Photo taken at the VFW Hall inwards Redmond, Washington, where James attends prisoner of war meetings. Credit: Book It Northwest


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