Jack Mayer wears many hats: He is a pediatrician in Middlebury, a speaker with the Vermont Humanities Council, an instructor in pediatrics at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and a writer. But it's his role as a son and grandson of a family who fled World War II-era Germany and the Holocaust, he says, that has informed his latest book.
Mayer recently spoke with VPR about his latest work of historical fiction called Before The Court Of Heaven. The book is set in Germany between the World Wars and tells the story of a young fascist and early Nazi, and his story of eventual redemption.
Mayer, who was born after World War II in New York City after his family fled Germany, grew up with what he calls "the ever-present, but largely unspoken burdens of the Holocaust."
Mayer says he was motivated to become "a link in a long chain of storytellers who help us remember," after discovering untold family stories in interviews his parents did for a project on the Holocaust.
Mayer's is also the author of Life In A Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, which follows a group of students from Kansas who unearthed the story of Irena Sendler, a Catholic woman who saved Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto.