Title: The Last Jew of Rotterdam
Author: Ernest Cassutto
Major Themes: Holland, Holocaust, Jews
Synopsis: As many people turned away from God during the German occupation of Holland, Ernest and Elly both turned to God, independently.
I’ve always been interested in stories about the Jews in the Holocaust. Some of their stories are pretty awful, but some are full of hope. The Last Jew of Rotterdam is a hopeful story. I enjoyed reading about Ernest’s and Elly’s experiences during World War II.
Ernest Cassuto was born in Indonesia, but when he was fourteen, his family moved back to Holland. He had never thought much about being Jewish, but after Germany overran Holland and occupied it, and began making life hard for the Jews, he started wondering what it meant to be Jewish. As he set out to find the answer to that question, he began reading the Old Testament, and then decided maybe he should also read the New Testament. After he was challenged to read Isaiah 53, he suddenly realized that Jesus was the Messiah. That knowledge carried him through the horrors of the German occupation.
Elly was only 11 when the Germans started making life hard for the Jews in Holland. Her family soon had to go into hiding, and after awhile she found herself having to pretend to be Christian in order to avoid detection. When she was in imminent danger of being found out, she cried for help to Jesus—and knew He was real!
There were many things that really impressed me in this book. One of the things that stood out the most was the love of the Christians in Holland for the Jews. Ernest and all his family, and Elly, became Christians themselves because of that love. The bravery of the Dutch Underground, of course, is well-known. I highly recommend this book, not only to those who are interested in true stories from World War II, but also to anyone who has an interest in the Jews and in how God works in people’s lives.
WARNING: Some murders are described, of Jews by the Nazis.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults