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The following recommendations were written between 1998 and 2000 by hosts of Michael Luick-Thrams’ program about the Scattergood Hostel for European refugees, near West Branch/Iowa from 1939-43. They are included here for their commentary about both the speaker’s skill and the worthiness of this, his first programming topic. Since 2000 Michael’s repertoire of program topics has expanded vastly and mirror the stories told on this web site. 

Jeffrey R. Portman, rabbi, Agudas Achim Congregation, Iowa City/Iowa:
Michael Luick-Thrams is an accomplished author and speaker. His recent presentation at our congregation was one of the best attended programs we have had. His recent book, Out of Hitler’s Reach: The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-1943, is meticulously researched.
          To our audience, many of whom had relatives who either perished or escaped the Holocaust, Michael’s presentation was especially poignant. His sensitivity to his audience made the evening even more meaningful. 

Tim Orwig, Assistant Dean of the College, Morningside College, Sioux City/Iowa:
I heartily recommend Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams as a speaker for your event. Dr. Luick-Thrams spoke three times on the Morningside College campus about Scattergood Hostel and the people who saved so many precious lives from the Holocaust. He added a valuable perspective to our Holocaust class, our all-campus lecture series and our writers’ discussion series. I also heard him speak in a local church. People responded well to his messages of conscience, inclusion and celebrating diversity.
          As a church-related college, we teach our students the importance of acting on your faith and reaching out to those in need. The lesson of Scattergood Hostel, I think, is that by acting locally, you can influence the events that take place halfway around the globe. Dr. Luick-Thrams was able to communicate that to our students, faculty and staff in an immediate manner. 

Jane Bryant and Fonda Haworth, elementary teachers, West Branch (Iowa) Community Schools:
It was our pleasure recently to invite Michael Luick-Thrams to our school in West Branch, Iowa, to share stories from his recent book, Out of Hitler’s Reach, the story of Scattergood Hostel, 1939-43, during our sixth-grade Holocaust unit.
          Michael’s presentation was most engaging and appropriate for our middle-level students. He chose to primarily concentrate on the stories of the children who stayed at the hostel. He focused on their experiences of attending the local school, visiting sites of interest around Iowa, and meeting and becoming friends with the local people around West Branch. Michael’s presentation included not only anecdotes of the “first Jello” but also remembrances of birthday parties, chores and living on a farm. Also of interest to the students was what had happened to the guests and their children through the years. His slides and narrative were thoughtful and interesting, which encouraged our students to incorporate this new information into their projects.
          We are grateful to Michael for working with our students for several days in small group settings in addition to giving the slide presentation. He gave the students individual attention and was available to answer questions and provide a great deal of motivation to our students. We recommend him and his book to anyone who is looking for a real-life connection to an historical event that often seems very vague and unreal for young people. 

Camilla Hewson Flintermann, family therapist (retired), Oxford/Ohio:
As a former staff member at Scattergood Hostel, and as one who worked with Michael Luick-Thrams as he gathered information for the Scattergood story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Out of Hitler’s Reach. It is a wonderful blend of historical analysis and of moving personal accounts by some of the “lucky ones” who managed to escape “Hitler’s reach” and begin new lives in the United States.
          In 1939, when the hostel opened, I was just out of high school; the 14 months I spent on staff before leaving for college were some of the most influential of my life. The drama, humor, anguish and courage of our “guests” are effectively and accurately portrayed in Michael’s account of the Scattergood experience, whether in the book or in his lectures.
          This is truly a story of the resilience of the human spirit! 

Ann-Ellen Akeley, teacher, Oakwood Friends School, Poughkeepsie/New York:
Michael Luick-Thrams’ video and commentary on the Scattergood Hostel in Iowa and its sheltering of Jewish refugees during the Nazi period breaks new ground in an area about which there are both inaccurate assumptions and considerable ignorance.
          His November 12th 1999 visit to our school provoked considerable interest and afterthought among a student population for whom the mid-twentieth century is ancient and distant history. As a Holocaust educator, I found his material, approach and personality well-matched to his educational mission and commend him to others in his continued devotion to the task he has set for himself. 

Guenther “George” Krauthamer, professor of neurology, Princeton/New Jersey:
One day, not long ago, at [the suburban-Philadelphia Quaker retreat center] Pendle Hill, I chanced upon Michael Luick-Thrams’ book Out of Hitler’s Reach, the story about Scattergood Hostel during the Second World War. I pounced upon that book because it captured one of the most memorable episodes of my life. It was 1942: I was sixteen, just out of Hitler’s reach and new to America. The old Quaker school, deep in the cornfields of Iowa, had been turned into a hostel—a kind of safe haven—for refugees from Europe. In [the book’s] pages I found myself and the whole fascinating history of Scattergood—and I met its author.
          Michael has succeeded in recreating the unique Scattergood experience and making it meaningful and topical—perhaps even more so today. One outgrowth of his book was my return visit to Scattergood, an occasion used by Iowa Public Television to produce a program based on Michael’s book. My children and my wife also have had the opportunity to attend one of Michael’s lectures and greatly appreciated his presentation and the knowledge they gained.
          There is yet another story behind the story of Scattergood Hostel. It is the author’s own: the road which led an Iowa farm boy via Quakerism and world travel to writing this book as a doctoral dissertation at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany—perhaps the most fitting locale. 

Victoria Brown, professor of history, Grinnell College, Grinnell/Iowa:
I am familiar with Mr. Luick-Thrams’ work. Though not a “standard” academic text, it is a compelling story and Mr. Luick-Thrams does a good show. If you’re looking for confirmation that this is an appropriate person to bring to campus, I can offer that. I found his work to be competent and the students who attended seemed very engaged with the story he had to tell. Now that I’ve done more independent research into the question of Jewish refugees in that era, I might raise new questions, but it’s a good story and deserves to be told.

Linda Jeffrey, professor of clinical psychology, Rowan University, Glassboro/New Jersey:
[Out of Hitler’s Reach] is so inspiring, and I’m looking forward to reading your book. Just wanted to mention to you that I grew up in Nebraska, so I find the Midwestern flavor of the Scattergood Hostel particularly moving. I’m fascinated with many aspects of this effort, including the impact it had on the [historical theological] split in the Quakers in the area. It’s very interesting how momentary, truly unimportant ideas that separate people fall away at least momentarily in the face of responding to people in need. The hopefulness of the Scattergood Hostel is something my students at Rowan need to hear about, because they too often are swamped with stories of the breakdown of our mental health system in an era of managed care, the lack of substance abuse treatment and the intractability of mental illness. They need to be inspired with hope about what can be done when people work together even in the face of as massive an evil as the Nazis. 

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