June 2002By Thomas Ellis
Dangerous Diplomacy: The Story of Carl Lutz, Rescuer of 62,000 Hungarian Jews. By Theo Tschuy. Eerdmans. 263 pages. $25.
This book provides, for the first time, the amazing story of Carl Lutz, the most successful rescuer of Jews in World War II. His position as Swiss Consul overseeing American, British, and other foreign interests in Budapest made him the only man to whom to turn for help when the war came to Budapest. Switzerlands neutrality provided him with access to the German-controlled Hungarian government. Through a web of precarious diplomatic moves, many of which he had not received permission from his superiors to make, Lutz managed to usher many Jews to safety, all the while stretching his own safety paper thin. The Germans tried to make him a mere marionette by meeting his requests with double-speak and deception, but Lutz beat them at their own game. With him, equally committed to saving the Jews though somewhat less diplomatic, stood his wife, Gertrud, who ministered to the immediate needs of the throngs who clamored outside the government building.
Tschuy presents this amazing story in the format of a historical novel. It is gripping from the first few pages, and the rising tension between Lutz and the German diplomats makes it difficult to put down. Lutz is presented as a man thrown into a situation he did not desire, but a man whose love of humanity would never let him flee. Tschuys descriptions of the horrific conditions and defeatist mindset of the Jews is stunning. One can feel the heavy, stifling atmosphere of death as the perilous meetings between Lutz and the German officials unfold. Lutzs is a story of heroism, the likes of which is rarely seen and which would be forgotten if not for this book.
From Rage to Responsibility: Black Conservative Jesse Lee Peterson and America Today. By Jesse Lee Peterson with Brad Stetson. Paragon House. 129 pages. $19.95.
Here is a fearless and brutally honest critique of the current political and social climate of America. While it is certainly true, as it has been said, that this book blows the whistle on the race industry, it does far more than that. Petersons commonsense writing on issues ranging from race relations to abortion and the conflict between men and women is refreshing and touches both the heart and mind.
Peterson begins with his own story a story of tragedy, senseless violence, strength of spirit, and ultimately interior victory, which he works tirelessly to bring about in others. His own myriad experiences and personal triumphs provide the underlying premise of the work: each of us is ultimately responsible for ourself, and that failing to live up to our responsibilities is at the root of every social problem, no matter how heinous or seemingly trivial. Solutions provided by government programs often only exacerbate the problems and cause mass dependency in a country whose greatness rests on personal independence and responsibility