June 17, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Honor Knows No Borders

Author John SharerA lot of people go through their lives unable to effect personal change, form real life analogies, learn lessons and generate catharsis. Not so with author John Sharer. He’s not only done just that, but he’s also crafted a thrilling historical novel that should resonate deeply with the social mores of today’s audience.

“Honor Knows No Borders,†is set amidst the backdrop of World War II. It tells the tale of a Jewish boy and his father—both of whom encounter German officers—who learn that people cannot always be judged by the uniforms they wear.

The idea for the book came about during Sharer’s time as a youth in London during the “Blitz†while his father, the commandant of a German prisoner of war camp, was stationed in North Africa. “The scariest part of [the war] was when the German’s invented the V-1 Honor Knows No BordersBuzz Bomb; a drone plane; with no pilot and a warhead in the nose that would explode on impact. The Germans would fuel them so they’d run out over London,†Sharer recalled.

The boy in the story is based on Sharer, and some of the characters on relatives. “The self-important air raid warden was based on my uncle. My sister, is the sister character in the book,†but Sharer muses, “I never found a German flyer in a bombed out building and if I did I would have probably run for my life.â€

Sharer, who came to the States when he was 18, made it to the West Coast and shortly thereafter received a draft notice. The option was to either fight for America or return to England and join the British Army. “I thought, well, the American uniforms are a bit smarter and the Americans have the G.I. Bill which gave you a stipend to go to school.†There was no contest. Sharer became an American citizen when he was in the army. After his tour of duty he studied law and eventually became a successful trial lawyer and settled in the Palisades.

In those early years, Sharer, who is Jewish, knew an acquaintance (through his wife) who was anti-Semitic. “This guy, let’s call him ‘Jack’ befriended a Jewish kid named ‘Bill.’ Jack would always make anti-Semitic remarks when Bill wasn’t around. When Bill was around, Jack would take him to concerts and events and act like his best friend. So I asked Jack, “Why do make these anti-Semitc remarks? You’re clearly friends with Bill.†And Jack explained, “Well, this kid’s different.†I said, “The only difference is that you know this kid and you don’t know all the other Jewish people out there that you’re making these nasty comments about!â€

Cut to: years later. Sharer who admits he was always anti-German and wouldn’t buy German products, landed a job representing a German engineering company, and spent a lot of time traveling back and forth, dealing with the company’s General Counsel.

“As it turned out that company had a Jewish president at the onset of the war. They spirited him and his family away to Switzerland so he would be safe and when the war was over he came back and resumed his duties as president.” Sharer liked the people he met at this company and came to think of them as friends. “One night we were leaving the General Counsel’s house and my wife, who remembered what I had said to Jack years ago, noted, “You’ve said nasty things about Germans. What about this man?†And I said, “Well, he’s different.†And she said, “You say he’s different but you continue to say nasty things about the Germans that you don’t know. Does this sound familiar? Remember ‘Jack’ and ‘Bill’?â€

Sharer says he had an epiphany. “These were wonderful, reasonable, liberal-thinking, compassionate people whom I considered to be my friends. And I realized, you can’t judge a people based on the crimes of some. You can only assign blame for what an individual person did. Not for what his father did. Not for what his country did.â€

From that day forward Sharer changed his thinking. “What I’m saying in “Honor Knows No Borders†is that you can’t judge a people. Like today, people have to some extent, resentment towards Muslims. But you can’t blame all the Muslims for what some Muslims did. Just like you can’t blame all the Germans for what the German Army did.†Whatever the time period, tolerance is always a good lesson to learn.

You can pick up “Honor Knows No Borders” at: www.Amazon.com or at Village Books in the Palisades.

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