I want to tell you a little bit about what it has been like growing up Jewish in America.
When I was in first grade, the crossing guard (a sixth grader) wouldn’t let me cross the street until the bell rang. His reason: Jews cross last.
When I was in High school, Young Life advisors told my friends not to hang out with me, since I was going to Hell and would drag them down with me.
Men threw rocks at me as I walked with other kids in an Israeli Independence Day Parade.
I have been asked:
Where do you hide your horns?
Why is your house so dark?
Why don’t you celebrate Christmas? Do your parents not love you?
Why did your people kill Jesus?
Why do our children have to read Anne Frank’s Diary? Or Night? Why do they have to be exposed to all that Jewish history?
Could Jews be responsible for 911?
About ten years ago, I believe I read an excerpt of For Such A Time in an online group. In my critique, I urged the writer that there could not be a credible romance between a Jewish prisoner and a Nazi commander. That this would be rape at best. That no Jew would yearn for a Nazi. That even if they saw some spark of humanity, that this story was not yearning to be written. If there is ONE statement we can all agree on, it’s that Nazis don’t belong in romances. Then I left the group. The concept sickened me that much.
Of course, I also believed that such a book, no matter how well written and researched, would ever find a publisher, especially Bethany House, a publisher I have always admired.
Stories are most powerful when they create discussion. As a writer who sometimes delves into themes that include faith and religion, I know that there is no way to offend no one. But I also believe that there are some things too terrible to toy with. Although I believe that most Christians would join me in scoffing at this premise, there will be many people that will use the story to discount the existence of the Holocaust. There will be others who will use it to justify statements about Jews that are hurtful. There will be a lot of people who will see this book as validation for feelings of racism and Anti Semitism.
You are a Christian publisher.
In publishing and celebrating this book, I believe you have done harm.