Seldom does the mere mention of a nickname draw so many emotions from so many people: gratitude, inspiration, idealism, dedication of a life to service of the Jewish people. To everyone, Elemelech Gavriel (Michael G.) Tress was Mike, from great rabbis and high government officials to youngsters on the streets and survivors he rescued from certain death.
What made this man so outstanding, so winning, so idolized?
He was as charismatic and effective a leader as the fledgling American Orthodoxy possessed, before or since. The cause of rescue before, during and after the Holocaust will forever be identified with Mike Tress, and the now-thriving Agudath Israel of America is his legacy.
He gave up a prosperous and promising business career to devote himself -- and all his resources -- to his people. His zeal was infectious. His blazing oratory moved mountains. He would throw off overwhelming fatigue and rise up like a lion to help everyone in need.
This book is the story of an extraordinary human being and many others, famous and obscure, who shaped their time. It illuminates a Jewish America that is virtually ignored in the standard histories, but that is vibrant in yeshivos and neighborhoods, and most of all in proudly productive Jewish families that conquered the melting pot.
It tells how Mike defied the establishment to save doomed Jews.
This is a captivating, intensely moving book. It is hard to put aside -- and its subject is impossible to forget.