Shores Beyond Shores
by Irene Butter

White River Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1-935-05270-8.
Reviewed by Mary Potter Kenyon
Posted on 08/29/2018

Nonfiction: Memoir

"We are all hungry for stories of hope and triumph over tragedy," writes author Irene Hasenberg Butter in her book Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope. Despite the difficult subject matter, Irene Butter's story is, ultimately, one of hope. This book was definitely not light escapist reading, but necessary. This should be required reading in high school history classes.

Butter remained basically silent about the experience until she was in her late fifties and realized that her silence allowed others to forget the Holocaust. "I thought of my parents, especially my Pappi, and all they had sacrificed for me. I had to exhibit that kind of courage and be the voice that others were denied," Butter writes. "So I began to speak, and I haven't been quiet since."

Thank goodness for that, for without her voice, readers would never come to know Irene Butter, her brother Werner Hasenberg, and the parents who protected and guided them through the unimaginable conditions in the Jewish concentration camps. What powerful writing! I read the book in one sitting and found myself crying with and for Butter and her family several times.

What the author is doing with her experience is extraordinary. An inspirational speaker, she stresses that one person can make a difference. A well-known peace activist, Irene co-founded Zeitouna, an organization of Jewish and Arab women working for peace. Her powerful story demonstrates that a survivor of horrific circumstances can not only survive but thrive.

Read an excerpt from this book.

Irene Hasenberg Butter is a well-known peace activist, Holocaust survivor, and Professor Emerita of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She is a frequent and inspirational speaker about her experience during World War II and co-founder of Zeitouna, a group of Jewish and Arab women working for social justice, co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg project at the University of Michigan, which honors the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Budapest, grants fellowships to students, and awards an annual peace medal to peace workers such as the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu, and Bryan Stevenson. She received a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University and is author of Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Story. Visit her website.

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