Review of Ada Aharoni’s Book: Not in VainPosted: 2018/05/15
Review of Ada Aharoni’s Book: Not in Vain
Not in Vain: An Extraordinary Life is a wonderful narration of part of the life of Thea Wolf, delicately pieced together by author Ada Aharoni. I was greatly intrigued by the introduction as Aharoni narrates how this book took form. It seems as if fate brought these two amazing women, who have lived a part of their lives in Egypt together in Jerusalem when Ada gave a talk about the uprooting of the Jewish community in Egypt in the mid-20th century.
The industrious Thea, a German Jewish nurse succeeded to save many lives in the Hospital of the Jewish Community in Alexandria, Egypt as well as the lives of destitute refugees from the Nazi Holocaust in Europe! She succeeded to do this with the help not only of the Jewish Community in Egypt, but also with the help of Egyptian Moslem officials, whom she convinced, such as the port officials in Alexandria, the Police, The Passport Authorities, the Prison authorities, and the Train’s officials. This book presents an unknown hidden and important historical gem, showing how Jews and Arabs cooperated in such an important issue of saving lives together in Egypt during the Second World War. This true story continues to speak profoundly to both men and women today.
As I read Thea Wolf’s background story in Hessen, Germany, where she was born, I see that Thea’s parents succeeded to instill in her to value human life above all. If the outcome of these values produce remarkable people like Thea, who desire to help the pain and sickness in the world, imagine a world where people live by this standard, where children are shown to love their neighbors and raised to help the suffering and needy. How many more Theas would our global community then have? It is an exciting and successful example which should encourage us to raise our children better, with the bright and hopeful perspective, that they too will one day bloom as beautifully as Thea with the desire engraved in their hearts “to not live their own life in vain”.
This shows us that NGOs like IFLAC which share similar goals of educating children to be raised in the light of the culture of peace is the right road to have citizens who are dedicated to the goal of peace in our global village.
I have also realized this book’s importance as a model example of peace in the Middle East which is relevant today. Thea’s motto to lead a useful life becomes her attribute which endears her to others, giving her the powerful tool of influence among her community in Alexandria. As the Head Nurse at the Jewish Hospital, the kindness shared by her and her colleagues towards their patients is what earns her the trust, respect, and loyalty of the local Jewish Community. Because of her sincerity and strength of character, Thea lives a purposeful life, and succeeds to save many Jewish Refugees fleeing from the shadows of the Nazi threat. Leaders and citizens from around the world may read and learn from her example how to bring Jews and Arabs together to live once again in symbiotic harmony. The answer is in Thea’s story and example, through mutual respect and understanding of one another’s culture. These are qualities which must be earned.
Lastly, as a story which resonates loudly for both men and women today, Thea shows us how simple dedicated people can change the world, no matter the restrictions of tradition, religion, or culture. In a time where women were not allowed or encouraged to make their own decisions, live away from home, or develop a career, Thea broke all of the above traditions because she had a calling in her heart. Thea’s goal is reflected through the powerful words of Emily Dickinson:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain…
I shall not live in vain.
Because she lives with a purpose, Thea manages to change minds and save lives. In order to succeed, however, it is important that this be a true and continuous aspiration in one’s life. This determination is what keeps Thea going in the middle of war, cultural differences, and other struggles. Mostly, our goals are what help us remain true to ourselves and move us forward during fragile times.
Thea was indeed a woman ahead of her time. Her ingenuity and passion to more efficiently save wounded Allied soldiers under General Montgomery is shown during the battle of El-Alamein against the Nazi General Rommel. Thea said that she was so full of sorrow when the wounded soldiers died in her arms because of the time that it took to determine their blood type in order to save their lives. This devastation is how she was inspired her to create the first blood bank. In a time without modern refrigeration, Thea’s ingenuity was to take blocks of ice in a tub and begin to categorize blood types and storing them in packets inside these cold storage containers fashioned by these tubs. By this method, she was able to more effectively save these wounded soldiers. Her innovative medical advancement, the first Blood Bank, played an imperative role to save these Allied soldiers.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this exciting and authentic historical biography, portraying an exemplary feminist heroine, Thea Wolf. She should be known and widely acknowledged today all over our global village. Her successful efforts of conflict resolution in the Middle East should be taught to children, youngsters, in colleges, and global universities. Her story should be read and her values should be adopted by world leaders in hope that this peace and cooperation among Arab and Jewish neighbors, may once again be obtained.
THIS AWARD WINNING BOOK IS SOLD ON AMAZON KINDLE AND AS A PAPERBACK; YOU CAN ORDER IT AT THE LINK BELOW:
*Ada Aharoni is a cultural sociologist, writer and poet. She is the founder and active President of World IFLAC (The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace). Her work may be found on www.amazon.com including her recent publication of Anti-War and Peace Anthology. For more information on her organization, please visit https://iflac.wordpress.com/.