Next year the Netherlands commemorates 75 years of liberation from Nazi repression. Bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton is coming to the John Adams to discuss her new novel The Last Train to London, which is based on the true story of the Vienna Kindertransports and the heroic woman who led the rescues, Truus Wijsmuller.
In The Last Train to London (translated as De laatste trein naar vrijheid for HarperCollins), we follow fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and his best friend Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But their carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis take control.
Truus Wijsmuller was a member of the Dutch resistance who helped some 10,000 predominantly Jewish children to escape from Nazi-occupied European cities to the UK just prior to the breakout of WWII. Among them were Ruth Westheimer, better known as tv-personality Dr. Ruth, and the son of Fritz Pfeffer, the dentist with whom Anne Frank shared her room. After the war, Truus Wijsmuller was one of the founders of the Anne Frank Stichting.
Moderator Ronald Leopold delivered the following introduction to Meg Waite Clayton.