Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Never Forget

To what kind of charity or community service would your character give her time and money?

By Rebecca Cantrell

The main character in my novels “A Trace of Smoke” and “A Night of Long Knives” is Hannah Vogel. She spends a great deal of her time doing community service: spying on the Nazis. She risks her life to smuggle out documents to the British government in the hope that they might intervene and prevent Hitler from building up his military forces and starting a war. We all know she didn’t manage to avert World War II, but she definitely does a lifetime of community service for Germany.

By the end of 1938, after the events of Kristallnacht, Hannah would have donated all her time and money to the Kindertransport, also known as the Refugee Children Movement. Starting less than a month after Kristallnacht and continuing until a few days before the start of World War II, approximately 10,000 Jewish children were sent from their homes in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to foster homes in Britain. Most of them survived the war. Most of their parents did not.

To the right is a picture entitled: "Refugee girl, part of a Children's Transport (Kindertransport), shortly after arrival in Harwich. Great Britain, December 2, 1938.

— Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris"

If Hannah were alive today, she would probably donate to efforts to reunite these children and educate the next generation of their fate, including The Kindertransport Association and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

That’s Hannah.

What would Mina Murray, the main character in “iDrakula” do?

Mina was six when the World Trade Center towers fell. When she was five she went to the very top of them with her father. She stood in the wind and looked down and felt like a bird. Because it was a cold day, she wore a red scarf her mother knitted her. She was angry that her father wouldn’t give her a quarter for the telescope, but she forgave him when he bought her a hot chocolate. She remembered the smoke and the confusion on the day the towers fell.

She donates time and money to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, an organization that helps the families of fallen first responders. She also saves some energy for The Red Cross (because she knows how important it is to have blood when you need it).

Sorry for the schizophrenic post, but as someone with two main characters, sometimes my posts have to do double duty.


Meredith Cole said...

I like your heroine's charities, Rebecca. I was living in NYC when the towers fell, and I wondered a lot about the kids who lived and went to school nearby. It was hard enough for the adults to handle, so it had to be incredibly scary and disturbing for the kids.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

You are in NYC at the time? I was in CA working in Silicon Valley. I suppose none of us, adults or kids, will forget where we were that day.

I wonder if one of those kids will write about it someday so we'll know what it was like for a kid to deal with a big act of violence like that.

Kelli Stanley said...

Brava, Becky!! You're as brave as your heroines, and do the world a great service by writing them! :)


Rebecca Cantrell said...

Aww, thanks, Kelli! Right back at you and Miranda and Arcturus!

TracyK said...

These are great charities! Nice post!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Tracy! 'Tis the season to think of giving after all!

Reece said...

These are wonderful charities, Becky. Nice post!

Joshua Corin said...

Great causes, all.

Shane Gericke said...

Delighted to see the Holocaust foundation on your list, Rebecca. Jerrle and I contributed to its founding--which isn't nearly as cool as it sounds, it only means we gave it a shitload of money and so became founders :-) -- and it's a vital institution to understanding the biggest crime in the history of the world. I still believe Germany was not punished sufficiently for what it did. But, it all ended well, for Germany today is a shining model in how it fights the Jew haters in its midst.

I'd like to know more about your time in NYC during that period, Meredith!