James H. Keeffe, III, author of “Two Gold Coins and a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot and POW,” a memoir of the WWII experiences of her father, James H. Keeffe, Jr., today shared how the book was uploaded to Google Books and helped reunite a Holocaust survivor and a World War II veteran (her fater).
Left: Photo of 19-year-old James from October 1942, Right: Photo of 9-year-old Helen from 1945
Photo taken at the VFW Hall in Redmond, Washington, where James attends POW meetings. Credit: Book It Northwest
She writes “her father was an American B-24 bomber pilot who, on his fourth mission during the war, was shot down over Southern Holland and taken in by the Dutch Underground. He spent the next five months evading capture by staying in several safe houses in Rotterdam. In one of the homes, owned by a Dr. Jappe-Alberts, a Jewish family–father, mother and eight-year-old daughter–hid up in the attic. About six months ago, I received an email that sent shivers up my spine.” It was from the same Jewish family’s daughter, now called Helen Cohen-Berman:
I’ve found this book a few day ago at the internet. I am the little girl from the Cohen family who was hidden together with Jim at the Jappe-Alberts family. I was 8 years old. I’ve read a part of the book already on the net and my son in the USA ordered it. It’s unbelievable to find all this after so many years… We are now living in Israel since 1978. I would like to leave a note with these information for the writer and his father as a sign of life. Can you give me an email-address? Forwarding is another possibility!
“Six months after Helen’s email to me, after much planning, Helen flew to Seattle and was reunited with my father on September 13, 2011. Sixty-seven years had passed since last they saw each other. It was a very moving experience–all possible because of Google Books,” said Keeffe.
Video: After 67 years, Helen and James were reunited in James’ Seattle home