Author says new book based on the detailed diary of a Holocaust survivor should be a wake-up call to this generation

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After 26 books, investigative reporter and true crimes best-selling author Mark Shaw believes his newest book is the most important he has written to date. “Courage in the Face of Evil” is adapted from the actual diary of a German Christian nurse who endured more than five years in Ravensbrück, the only concentration camp exclusively for women in the German Reich. This November will mark 80 years since the camp was constructed, and it is believed that between 90,000 and 115,000 of the inmates at Ravensbrück did not survive. Although the subject matter was difficult, Shaw says capturing the voice of the book’s heroine, re-named Vera Konig in the book, was uncomplicated.

“I wanted this courageous woman’s voice to be heard in this book as she presented it in the diary,” says Shaw. “Therefore, little editing at all exists except toward the back end of the diary, permitting her words to be presented almost exactly as Vera wrote them during her days of fighting to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. We needed to qualify the book as ‘based on a true story’ since I added what her daughter told me her mother’s intentions were after the war regarding saving a Nazi SS prison guard’s life.”

The story, described by Shaw as both disturbing and inspiring, chronicles how Vera became a prisoner of the Nazi regime after helping hide many Jewish people, forging their passports and distributing anti-fascist flyers. Inside the concentration camp, Vera befriends a Russian orphan girl, hides her to save her from the gas chambers and when Vera cannot hide her anymore, risks her life and the little girl’s by trusting the guard who has shown Vera compassion. Shaw says Vera’s faith was tested many times during her ordeal.

“Everyone loses faith at times during their spiritual journey and Vera was no exception,” says Shaw. “When readers listen to her voice they will hear how she tried to understand how the Nazis could be so cruel to others especially the children and, failing that, cried her eyes out on a nightly basis. Several times she asked why God was not listening to her prayers, why He would not provide the miracles she sought so as to help others. During her most difficult times with keeping hope, God brought her, as she wrote, ‘a miracle,’ a young child she could mother and love. This happening renewed her hope and faith, and she was determined to save Andrea’s life at all costs, even if she died doing so.”

Shaw says eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust are not only important for historical purposes, but should be “stop and think moments” for today’s generation.

“In today’s world, we see examples everywhere of hate— school shootings, racial injustice, violation of women’s rights, bigotry— it is unlimited,” says Shaw. “The Holocaust came about because of the overbearing power of a man who believed he was some sort of god who could decide who lived and who died due to a boundless hatred for anyone who disagreed with him. By recalling the events of the Holocaust, we must learn our lesson— that love can overcome darkness. Our society is raising young people who complain when they are unable to use their smart phones for ten hours a day. Hopefully books such as ‘Courage in the Face of Evil’ will help this generation recognize how others suffered unimaginable things from people filled with hatred causing young people to stop and think about what is most important in life, a willingness to spread love throughout the world, as it should be.”

About Mark Shaw:
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A graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary and former defense attorney, Mark Shaw is the author of 26 books. His best-seller, “The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What’s My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen”, has been optioned by the Brothers Dowdle Production Company who produced Paramount Network’s “Waco” mini-series. Shaw was a legal correspondent for ABC, CNN, and ESPN, correctly predicting the outcomes of the Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson trials. He has been a reporter for USA Today and featured on various television and radio shows. His book, “The Poison Patriarch: How the Betrayals of Joseph P. Kennedy caused the Assassination of JFK”, led to his appearance on the Reelz Channel special “The Kennedys”. Shaw is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. For more information visit www.courageinthefaceofevil.com or http://www.markshawbooks.com.

Posted 3 weeks ago by Gina Adams

 

Q&A with author Mark Shaw

How did you discover this diary?
In the late 1990s, I learned through an article in a Midwest newspaper of the existence of a troubling yet inspiring diary written by a Christian German nurse during her incarceration at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, the only Nazi camp exclusively for women. I contacted this woman’s daughter and was able to secure a copy of the diary. At the time, I was involved with other books and was only able to publish parts of the diary through a local publisher with the hope I could at a later date publish the entire story. Earlier this year I decided the “later date” had come when I realized the “love overcomes hate” theme of the book was quite relevant in today’s world where there is so much hate, so much division, so much disrespect. Through this woman’s spiritual beliefs, she decided to trust a Nazi prison guard she hated after he showed some affection for her, causing her to believe that he had love in his heart hidden beneath his SS uniform.

Describe the process of writing an entire book in someone’s voice when you have limited diary entries.
Actually, this was not necessary as I wanted this courageous woman’s voice to be heard in this book as she presented it in the diary. Therefore, little editing at all exists except toward the back end of the diary, permitting her words to be presented almost exactly as she wrote them during her days of fighting to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. We needed to qualify the book as “based on a true story” since I added what the daughter told me her mother’s intentions were after the war regarding saving the prison guard’s life.

What captivated you most about this story?
From the moment I read the diary, I was emotionally moved by the courage exhibited by three people whose lives who were transformed by love overcoming hate – Vera, the little girl Andrea, and the prison guard named Jacob. Each exhibited courage in the face of evil, and the drama associated with the woman’s life or death decision to trust the prison guard who could have either saved the girl or had both the woman and girl shot brought tears to my eyes. Courage comes in many forms, but when human survival is at stake, a special type of courage is required and each of these three people as well as the thousands of women at Ravensbrück showed bravery that is so inspiring in nature. My respect for them is unlimited, and I am proud to be able to tell the story of just one woman who never gave up hope, never lost the human spirit, a true angel of mercy whose only goal was to save lives through her love and caring for everyone in a true Christlike manner for so many years.

There is a quote from Vera that says “good and evil both need deception to survive.” What does she mean by that?
This is a quote that should cause readers to stop and think about the meaning of Vera’s words. I don’t want to provide my own opinion, but suffice it to say that one must consider the context of the words she wrote in terms of whether lying or even just misleading others is good or bad, Christlike behavior or the work of the devil based on what she is experiencing on a daily basis as she fights to survive.

How does Vera’s faith change over the course of her experience in the concentration camp?
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Everyone loses faith during their spiritual journey and Vera was no exception. When readers listen to her voice they will hear how she tried to understand how the Nazis could be so cruel to others especially the children and failing that, cried her eyes out on a nightly basis. Several times she asked why God was not listening to her prayers, why He would not provide the miracles she sought so as to help others. During her most difficult times with keeping hope, God brought her, as she wrote, “a miracle,” a young child she could mother, she could love. This happening renewed her hope, her faith, and she was determined to save Andrea’s life at all costs, even if she died doing so. Jacob coming along was another miracle, his affection, her understanding that he was not the devil she thought he was.

Why do you believe it is important for people today to hear stories from the Holocaust?
We must never forget what happened to cause the Holocaust— overbearing power by a true bully, one who believed he was some sort of god who could decide who lived and who died due to a boundless hatred for anyone who disagreed with him. In today’s world, we see examples everywhere of hate— school shootings, racial injustice, violation of women’s rights, bigotry— it is unlimited. By recalling the events of the Holocaust, we must learn our lesson— that love can overcome darkness. Our society is raising young people who complain when they are unable to use their smart phones for ten hours a day. Hopefully books such as ‘Courage in the Face of Evil’ will help this generation recognize how others suffered unimaginable things from people filled with hatred causing young people to stop and think about what is most important in life, a willingness to spread love throughout the world, as it should be.

Your last book is being made into a movie. Talk about that book and the prospects of Vera’s story also becoming a film.
Women’s issues filter through many of my 26 books, but the subject of courage has been on my mind for some time since my latest book, “The Reporter Who Knew Too Much”, a biography of media icon and investigative reporter Dorothy Kilgallen, became a bestseller with a follow-up book, “Denial of Justice” to be released this fall. In TRWKTM, I presented the courage exhibited by Kilgallen who risked her life to discover the truth about the JFK assassination. This true crime murder mystery resonated with the prestigious Brothers Dowdle Production Company in Hollywood, producers of the TV series, “WACO” for the Paramount Network and they are currently developing the story for a film or TV series. From the moment “Courage in the Face of Evil” was discovered by certain producers, there has been an interest in developing Vera’s remarkable story for a motion picture. Two actors of renown have also inquired as to the film rights.

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For review copies of the book or to schedule an interview with best-selling author Mark Shaw, contact: Gina Adams
Email: Gina@AdamsPRGroup.com
Phone: 615-776-1590

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