"Having hosted Marty Brounstein twice for storytelling presentations, once in the Boston area and a year later in the Los Angeles area, what really stands out is how compelling a story he tells related to his book Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust. In a time where dehumanizing people was common and conditions to resist were most dangerous, here comes a Christian couple with heart who rise up to protect others in dire need -- Jews who were the target of murder. The Holocaust is actually recent history and essential for people to know about.
Marty’s storytelling is very effective. He first paints a historical picture of the greater context behind the story, providing facts that often people may have forgotten. Then he describes the situation of who this couple was and what they did to help Jews despite the great risks involved. Their real humanity comes across, and as Marty tells the story, it makes you think what would I have done in these most difficult circumstances. Marty delivers an inspirational presentation which the audience members responded to very positively and enthusiastically.
Also, Marty’s story is so relevant today. It reminds us and warns us not to allow history to repeat itself, to stand up to wrongs we see from bullying to acts of intolerance. His story gives us a chance to learn and apply lessons for our lives today, experiences that promote unity and respect. The world would be a happier place if these lessons were part of how people carried out their daily lives. So I think Marty’s efforts to continue on his journey in sharing this inspirational story is very important, especially in today’s cultural climate. I highly encourage and recommend he keeps telling this story."
Michael Cunningham Retreat Center Director Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center Sierra Madre, CA
"I am pleased to recommend Marty Brounstein as a speaker to any organization’s program. The program I had with him at my library was a big success.
First off, Marty is a pro to work with even before the program happened. He provided the materials needed to help in the promotion of the event well in advance. Then he responded to any questions that came up along the way and stayed in touch at the right points to keep the program moving forward in an organized fashion. His collaborative approach made working with him quite easy.
Then the day of the program, Marty really delivered. His compelling storytelling style truly engaged and captured the audience. The historical context he provides gives people a deeper nuance into his amazing story of two unsung heroes in the Holocaust. In an age where sometimes all we hear are soundbites, he proved with his storytelling that people can engage and appreciate something fuller and more meaningful. Our audience that day was a mix of ages, from youth to seniors, all who got into the story and were also involved in asking good questions after the story, which Marty handled very well.
Overall, a very worthwhile event with our community getting a chance to learn about an important story that Marty shares." Ted Liebler Adult Services Librarian Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ
"Many thanks to you and Leah for attending last night! It is always an honor and pleasure to have you both at CHS! I am forwarding you an email from one of the parents that attended last night. It was so nice to receive this email this morning. You and Leah are doing good work. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I will see you both on January 15th."
-Emily Emily Diaz AP English Language Teacher Christopher High School, Gilroy, CA
Dear Ms Diaz,
I cannot express to you the appreciation we have to you for inviting these wonderful guests last evening to speak about their book. I feel so fortunate to have been able to meet them, shake their hands, speak briefly with them and just be in their presence! It was a once in a lifetime experience for myself and my husband, which we will never forget. We wish to thank-you for bringing this enriching experience to our students and I could see the real enthusiasm they had to learn from these “national treasures”. I am still awestruck by their story and presentation.
Thank you so much for being such a caring teacher. Camille is very fortunate to have you this year. She says you are the best English Teacher she has ever had.
Very Respectfully, Christine Widman (Camille’s Mom)
My Dear Mr Brounstein,
As I hope you already know, my husband Larry and I were both captivated by your presentation, but even more so by just “being” with you both. I came home and was so moved by the experience, that I immediately wrote to my best friend trying to explain the phenomenon of being drawn to wanting to touch you both, perfect strangers that I knew nothing about. It was like the power you feel when standing in a sacred place, linked into the past. It is still very hard for me to describe. I am guessing I am not the first person to feel this way about your “team”. You do incredible honor to those who you write about and give them voice today. You are so gifted at passing along the story as well. My daughter was “analyzing” your delivery, identifying many of your public speaking tools. You probably thought you were only teaching about your book!! Can’t wait for your follow up visit and book discussion to Mrs Diaz’s classroom.
Most Sincerely, Christine Widman
I was very pleased to host Marty Brounstein in sharing the true story of moral courage related to his book Two Among the Righteous Few for our community in the Central Coast region of California. His engaging storytelling presentation made for a very inspiring and educational evening for the audience. Not only did we have a large turnout on hand that evening but the interfaith aspect of Marty’s story led to us having a nice cross section of people from the community at large, a mix of both of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. This mix added very positively to the audience dynamic.
Marty’s storytelling really pulled in the audience. They learned much about the greater historical perspective he provides in the first part of his presentation. In particular, the Dutch history Marty tells about life in the Netherlands during World War II was new to most everyone there and quite fascinating. It set up very well when he then highlighted the two Righteous heroes in his story and the courage and compassion of what they did in their rescue efforts during the Holocaust. The end of his presentation, when he reveals his personal connection to the story, brought out many oohs and aahs from the audience -- a great inspirational spice to the whole story and experience that evening.
What was neat to see as well was the conversation Marty conducts with the audience after the storytelling. The questions and comments raised showed that many people were able to draw a relevant connection from this story to modern times. The lessons and values this story offers are very important today. Sharing this history from the Holocaust and the particular story Marty tells with it is so relevant and critical for today. We can’t do it enough. This education is so valuable for all people to have. Added in the fact that Marty’s story brought in a good mix of people where learning, understanding, and unity were built that evening makes doing this kind of program so worthwhile. I would have no trouble recommending Marty to other organizations who want to make this kind of special experience happen.
Lauren Bandari Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of San Luis Obispo County, CA
I have been involved with supporting many Holocaust films in my public relations work, so I know the subject well. When one comes across a story from the Holocaust that shows the good amidst the evil, as Marty Brounstein does with his book Two Among the Righteous Few, it is well worth giving attention.
I attended Marty’s storytelling presentation held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and found the story he told about the two Dutch Christian rescuers a wonderful story. Not only is it a good story but Marty tells it with such energy and passion, with even love that comes across, that he captures your attention fully. I figured out who his meaningful personal connection was ahead of time but when it was fully revealed to the audience, it truly moved people.
Marty’s story and his delivery of it were fantastic and made for an enjoyable experience. Gary Springer Springer Associates PR Croton-on-Hudson, NY
"Outstanding and inspiring are the words that come to mind when I think about Marty Brounstein’s book and the presentation he gives to audiences about it." -Bob Faulhaber, retired tech CEO
"As time marches on our memory fades and as members of the Greatest Generation pass from this life we must not forget the horror that was Nazis Germany. We must not forget the Holocaust. During the 1930s and 40s Hitler’s Germany killed more than 6 million Jews just because they were Jews. Many citizens of Germany and other European countries were complicit in this destruction of innocent life. But there were a few who risked their lives and the lives of their families to save people who were in danger for no reason other than they were Jewish. The story of two of these few is beautifully told by Marty Brounstein in his book Two Among the Righteous Few. The story of Frans and Mien Wijnakker, a loving Dutch Catholic couple who lived a simple rural life in the southern part of the Netherlands until the Nazis invaded their country, had to be told. Marty has done a wonderful job allowing us to get to know this exceptional couple and travel in their footsteps as they lived their lives under the brutal German occupation of their country. Marty has a personal connection to this story that makes it even more poignant and an enjoyable discovery as you read his book.
The stink of anti-Semitism continues to raise its ugly head. When state leaders of any country want to stay in power they find some group to hate and blame for their countries problems. The Jews especially and sometimes other religious, ethnic, or economic class continue to serve this purpose.
I strongly recommend this book to all. Read and never forget!
I have also had the pleasure of attending a couple of Marty’s storytelling presentations. He conveys a powerful story in a dynamic fashion that keeps an audience throughout. The end where he reveals his meaningful personal connection is quite moving. As Marty has notified me of other speaking events he has had in my vicinity, I have happily passed on such news to encourage friends to come see his presentation.”
Bob Faulhaber, retired tech CEO
"I would highly recommend Marty Brounstein as a speaker for a program or service at one’s church, synagogue, or any organization that values the principles of ethics and service. Marty is the author of a book titled Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust. It is a true story of interfaith courage and compassion that has messages worthwhile for church members and people of all backgrounds to gain.
Marty spoke about his book as part of an adult education workshop at my church. It was very well received. He gives an engaging and heartfelt presentation, one that has a meaningful personal connection as well. People very much enjoyed the experience of hearing about his special story. At a later time, Marty asked if I would be his introducer for a program he had at a local bookstore. I was very happy to do so. In fact, I later arranged for him to come back to my church to take this story into our 8th grade classroom.” Father Brian Joyce, Senior Pastor (retired) Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill, CA
“What an inspiration. Our group was spellbound as we listened to a tale of extreme courage in the midst of World War II. Our speaker, Marty Brounstein, brother of member Shari McGinnis, has recently written a book “Two Among the Righteous Few”, that tells a tale, personal to his family, of a Catholic couple in the Netherlands who hid countless numbers of Jews from the Nazis, including his wife, who was a baby at the time. He was a dynamic speaker who moved our audience with his inspirational and very heartwarming story. I was happy to recommend him to our midwest regional president who had him speak on this powerful story at our conference the next year.”
Randy Heidenfelder Henrietta Szold Hadassah group President, northwest suburbs of Chicago
“Marty,again, thank you to you and your lovely wife for sharing your powerful story with us at our County Managers’ program in Turlock. It certainly provided me the opportunity to discuss the ethics conversation in a very different but impactful way with my management team.
Also, I do plan to purchase a couple books to have a copy both in my office and at home (hopefully I can still have them signed by both you and Leah). I actually jumped on your website yesterday evening and watched a portion of the presentation with my wife and two kids (Nicholas, 14 and Isabella, 12) after dinner. We committed to seeing the entire presentation over the weekend together as a family. Both my kids have studied that important piece of our history at school from the American perspective and I believe your tale shed some insight from a unique point of view.
Take care and continue sharing your special story and your wife’s amazing journey. You both are making a remarkable impact. Warm regards from Hughson, the smallest city in Stanislaus County but a place where great things are happening.” Raul Mendez, City Manager City of Hughson, CA
“I usually don’t write notes to colleagues at other synagogues recommending a specific speaker, but I did so in the case of Marty Brounstein. He presented at Congregation Beth Jacob speakers’ program and was wonderful, a speaker I would recommend to consider bringing to any other community. Marty Brounstein shares the story of a couple in the Netherlands who helped rescue his wife’s family and a number of other Jews during the Holocaust. He is a gifted speaker. He weaves in historical context and personal stories in a compelling way, and addresses the important issue of how we find hope amidst tragedy as well as celebrating the courage of Righteous gentiles like Frans and Mien Wijnakker. His engaging presentation captured our audience very strongly.”
Rabbi Nat Ezray, Senior Rabbi Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, CA
“A recent presenter at our Rotary Club meeting was Marty Brounstein, the author of Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust. He and the inspirational story he tells were a big hit with our audience. He tells the story of how Frans Wijnakker and his wife, Mien, saved the lives of at least two dozen Jews in southern Holland during World War II. They were Catholics who led a simple life in a small town, but they took risks and displayed bravery to help others in dire need, instilling hope during one of the most horrific points of history. This story has a meaningful personal connection as well to Marty, which he reveals in the end.
Marty was a fabulous speaker with plenty of energy and passion who had a REAL LIFE connection to his presentation! One of our very best speakers! The values of service his story reinforces are important to not only our organization but also to people in their lives today.”
Chuck Canada, President Niles Rotary Club in Fremont, CA
“Thank you so much for coming to St. Bartholomew Parish last week to tell the story of the Righteous Two you represent. As you noticed, there was a larger than usual turnout for a presentation after Easter. People really wanted to hear this interfaith story of courage and compassion.
By starting your presentation with the three core questions, you drew everyone into the heart of this life and death drama. Now, as we reflect on your talk, we continue to wrestle with those questions for Frans and Mien and for ourselves. In light of current day ethnic cleansing, we are challenged to become stronger advocates for those who are persecuted.
I will speak with our Confirmation coordinator. Perhaps next year, we could arrange for you to speak with the students and parents. It is a time when the young people are asked to claim their faith by walking in the way of truth and justice. Leah's experience would lead to some powerful conversations and commitments.
We offer our prayers for you and Leah as you share this important story of faith, love and truth.”
Barbara Regan, Director of Adult Faith Formation St. Bartholomew Parish in San Mateo, CA
“For five years, up until my retirement, I was always very thankful to have Marty Brounstein speaking and leading discussion on his book with my 8th graders. His wife Leah was part of these educational sessions, which added a very special touch. The sessions on the story were inspiring, with messages conveyed to the students that gave them lessons for life. Marty and his book tell such a compelling story of courage and compassion. I would highly recommend any educator who wants their students to gain valuable insights and positive lessons from Marty’s book of two heroes in the Holocaust to involve Marty inside their classroom.
In addition, I have attended one of Marty’s storytelling presentations he gives in public settings. As a supporter for his journey with the special story, I was happy to serve as his introducer for the program. He gives a dynamic presentation that engaged the large audience throughout, an audience of all ages. Everyone was in to the story he told and the powerful meaningful personal connection he revealed in the end. Definitely an inspiring presentation.”
Jodie Russi, former 8th grade teacher St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception School in Walnut Creek, CA The first teacher to bring Marty inside her classroom early in his journey with the special story.
“I very much appreciated having Marty Brounstein tell his powerful story to our chapter. The story he tells related to his book Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust is truly very inspiring. It provides a lesson of courage, love, and compassion that resonated so well with our whole group. Marty is a gifted storytelling who kept the audience glued to their seats the whole time. Everyone said that they really enjoyed the presentation. As a service organization, we greatly appreciate these true stories with such positive values to them. Please keep telling this important story so relevant for our times.”
Julie Grimmett President, Piestewa Peak Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Scottsdale, AZ
“I very much support stories that promote interfaith respect and values. That’s why when a former pastor colleague who hosted Marty for a program at his church in New York a few years back introduced Marty to me, I was happy to host a program for him at my church. The event turned out better than expected. Marty is a master storyteller. He kept everyone in the audience tuned in the whole way through, with a powerful ending (when he reveals his meaningful personal connection to the story) that both moved people and brought the reality of his story into full light. Marty’s story conveyed through his book Two Among the Righteous Few reminds us of the importance to speak up against discrimination, injustice, and tyranny. As a storyteller, Marty paints a vivid picture of the times in which his story takes place, World War II and the Holocaust, and then he weaves in who the two heroes of his true story were that makes their courage and compassion stand out -- people we can learn lessons from today.
Because of the important and inspirational story that Marty tells and the dynamic way he presents it, I am looking to get him back to New York to be the keynote speaker at a Holocaust Remembrance Day I will be hosting and involving a neighboring synagogue as part of it. More people need to get connected to his special story, so relevant for our times today.” Senior Pastor Amandus Derr Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church New York City
Pastor Amandus Derr was true to his word, hosting Marty as the keynote speaker for Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day program on May 1, 2019. In a follow-up letter of introduction and recommendation to four of his clergy leader colleagues in New York City, here is what he had to say:
"I’ve included author and speaker MARTY BROUNSTEIN in this email to all of you as a way of introducing him to each of you. Marty was the speaker at Saint Peter’s and Central Synagogue’s Yom HaShoah service on May 1. He authored the book Two Among the Righteous, the story of a Dutch Christian couple sheltering Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, 1940-1945. He’s an incredibly engaging storyteller, mesmerizing the adults in the service from both our congregations and particularly engaging the sixth graders from Central who were at the service. I’m introducing him to you in case you want someone who can talk, with an incredible personal connection, about the actions of a very few ‘righteous Gentiles’ during the Nazi era. Given our current rise in anti-Semitic vitriol and acts, I think his story is helpful and timely.”
“I very much appreciated having Marty Brounstein tell his powerful story to our chapter. The story he tells related to his book Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust is truly very inspiring. It provides a lesson of courage, love, and compassion that resonated so well with our whole group. Marty is a gifted storytelling who kept the audience glued to their seats the whole time. Everyone said that they really enjoyed the presentation. As a service organization, we greatly appreciate these true stories with such positive values to them. Please keep telling this important story so relevant for our times.” Julie Grimmett President, Piestewa Peak Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Scottsdale, AZ