Izzy's Fire: Finding Humanity In The Holocaust

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9781556182075: Izzy's Fire: Finding Humanity In The Holocaust

Edna Ipson, Holocaust survivor, now 93 years old, sees her family's story of struggle and survival recorded and published. Brunswick Publishing has just released Izzy's Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust by Nancy Wright Beasley, which focuses mainly on the Ipson family's life in hiding in a Lithuanian farmer's potato field.The book depicts how 13 members of five Jewish families survived the Holocaust through their own ingenuity and the generosity of a poor Catholic farm family. All 13 Jews ended up living in a 9'x12'x4' underground hole as World War II raged around them. Some lived underground for about seven months before being liberated by the Russian Army.Dr. Michael Berenbaum, project director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (1988-1993) and author of The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, says, “Izzy's Fire is filled with the passion of one woman determined to do justice to the story of another woman who lived in hiding throughout the war years. The war has soul. One feels the intensity of the struggle to survive. One senses the decency of those who were ready to rescue and the evil that haunted a mother and father and their young child in the dangerous world they lived. Nancy Wright Beasley has told a powerful story with dignified restraint. She has given voice to an underreported side of the Holocaust – life in hiding.” Adriana Trigiani, author of the best selling Big Stone Gap trilogy, offered early praise for the book. According to Trigiani, “Nancy is a passionate, dedicated writer who has written a searing story, sure to capture readers with Izzy's Fire. She proves herself to be a storyteller who uses firsthand accounts and research with equal resolve.” Beasley draws from personal interviews, research and numerous memoirs, including extensive memoirs from Israel “Izzy” Ipson, who helped his family escape from Kovno Ghetto, one of the most notorious killing fields for Jews in Lithuania. The Ipps, as they were known then, relocated to Richmond following their liberation and later changed their name to Ipson. The story has been re-created at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia.Izzy's Fire, which encompasses Virginia Standards of Learning at a variety of levels, will be taught as a pilot project in several eighth grade language arts classes in Chesterfield County public schools during the 2004-05 school term.

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About the Author:

Nancy Wright Beasley’s seven-year journey that led to this book began when she heard Alan Zimm, a Buchenwald survivor, recite names of family members who died in the Holocaust. Beginning to understand the significance of recording survivor history, she read memoirs, interviewed survivors and discovered the miraculous journey that finally led Edna Ipson and her family from the heel of the Nazis to "the other side of hell." She tells of their journey in Izzy’s Fire.

Beasley's journalistic career spans 25 years, beginning with seven years as a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader. She has been a personal columnist and contributing editor for Richmond magazine since 1997. Beasley has written several national award-winning columns and articles for the magazine, as well as other publications.

A recipient of a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications, Beasley now teaches there.

Review:

"Izzy's Fire is an intensely moving, deeply thought-provoking account of man's humanity to man in the midst of the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust. Raising fundamental questions about right and wrong and the consequences of personal action, Izzy's Fire is a powerful teaching tool for adults and young people alike." -Anne E. Derse, U.S. ambassador (ret.) "I met Nancy Wright Beasley at the American Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. I have never met a person with so much empathy towards 'another' and the terrible Jewish fate during WWII...As a Holocaust survivor of the Kovno Ghetto, I bow my head to Nancy and admire the book she has written with such incredible sensitivity." -Irena Veisaite˙, PhD, retired professor, literary scholar, and theatre critic (Vilnius, Lithuania) "This book is extraordinary and could become one of the most important books of its genre." -Martin J. Goldman, director of survivor affairs (ret.), U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum "Izzy's Fire is remembrance. It should never die." -Armchair Interviews "Remembering the Holocaust is the best way to prevent another. Nancy Wright Beasley courageously stands at the forefront of this sacred endeavor." -Rabbi Shmully Hecht, Shabtai: The Jewish Society at Yale University "Izzy's Fire gives voice to those who survived the Holocaust in hiding and is a welcome addition to Holocaust studies shelves." -Midwest Book Reviews "A fascinating account of a few Jewish families that escaped the horrors of the ghetto in Kovno and by some miracle survived the war years in one of the most hostile environments to Jews on the European continent. It is a document of unlimited courage and devotion, of boundless hope, and passion to survive...This book is another very important addition to the Holocaust." -Abe Larwe, editor, English section of Gachelet, a publication of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel. As the story of one family, this remarkable book may stand as a metaphor for thousands of others, unknown and untold as accounts from the victims of the 20th century's greatest crime." -Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., PhD, author of Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945; executive director, Virginia Holocaust Museum "Beasley draws from personal interviews, research, and numerous memoirs, including those from Israel "Izzy" Ipson, who helped his family escape from Kovno Ghetto, one of the most notorious killing fields for Jews in Lithuania. Complete with maps and photos, Izzy's Fire is a story for all time." -Rebecca Reads "As a member of Brandermill Rotary, Nancy Wright Beasley upholds Rotary International's major theme: service above self. In Izzy's Fire, we're looking at a handbook for service above self. It's one thing to talk it, but quite another to see in this book how people actually lived it. Unless we actually live it, it doesn't really mean anything." -Jim Bynum, governor, Rotary District 7600, 2011-12 "I chose Izzy's Fire as an excellent example of how to show students and teachers all the situations about understanding the Holocaust. It relates to victims, collaborators, the Nazis, bystanders, and rescuers, and offers many moral questions." -Ingrida Vilkiene˙, deputy director of education, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes (Vilnius, Lithuania) "I know Izzy's Fire changes lives, those of adults and students. I witnessed it firsthand during the seven years I taught it." -Rebecca Quesenberry, reading specialist "Izzy's Fire changed my life, as I never realized how terrible discrimination can be. If I could, I would make Izzy's Fire required reading for all middle and high school students." -Sam Stark, 16, Thomas Dale High School, Chesterfield County, Va.

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