Book Festival Author: Larry Hanover
Rebuilt from Broken Glass: A German Jewish Life Remade in America
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We have all heard of the Holocaust and know what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. But to truly understand why we say “Never Again,” you need to hear a survivor’s story and feel a connection to that person. Coauthor Larry Hanover tells the powerful story of Fred Behrend, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor who escaped Germany as a child and now lives in Voorhees, New Jersey.
About Rebuilt from Broken Glass: A German Jewish Life Remade in America
Symbolized by a three-hundred-year-old Seder plate, the religious life of Fred Behrend’s family had centered largely around Passover and the tale of the Jewish people’s exodus from tyranny. When the Nazis came to power, the wide-eyed boy and his family found themselves living a twentieth-century version of that exodus, escaping oppression and persecution in Germany for Cuba and ultimately a life of freedom and happiness in the United States.
Behrend’s childhood came to a crashing end with Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and his father’s harrowing internment at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. But he would not be defined by these harrowing circumstances. Behrend would go on to experience brushes with history involving the defeated Germans. By the age of twenty, he had run a POW camp full of Nazis, been an instructor in a program aimed at denazifying specially selected prisoners, and been assigned by the U.S. Army to watch over Wernher von Braun, the designer of the V-2 rocket that terrorized Europe and later chief architect of the Saturn V rocket that sent Americans to the moon.
Behrend went from a sheltered life of wealth in a long-gone, old-world Germany, dwelling in the gilded compound once belonging to the manufacturer of the zeppelin airships, to a poor Jewish immigrant in New York City learning English from Humphrey Bogart films. Upon returning from service in the U.S. Army, he rose out of poverty, built a successful business in Manhattan, and returned to visit Germany a dozen times, giving him unique perspective into Germany’s attempts to surmount its Nazi past.
About Larry Hanover
Larry Hanover is coauthor of Rebuilt from Broken Glass: A German Jewish Life Remade in America (Purdue University Press, 2017). The book tells the tale of Holocaust survivor Fred Behrend, who escaped from the Nazis with his parents and went on to turn the tables by teaching democracy to German POWs. The book is in its second printing and is recommended by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. In 2022, he directed and produced the documentary Rebuilt from Broken Glass after the miraculous reunion of Behrend with a friend exactly 80 years after they last saw each other during Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Larry has also coauthored a book on empathy and tolerance The Empathy Advantage (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) and assisted with the memoirs of other Holocaust survivors. Larry was an award-winning reporter for The Times of Trenton from 1988 to 2006 and also worked for the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.
This event is a part of the Burlington County Book Festival, taking place on Saturday, June 3 from 11am – 4pm. Discover new books and authors, purchase book-related merchandise, and participate in activities for all ages!