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Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the NYT bestsellers THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS, THE ORPHAN’S TALE, THE DIPLOMAT’S WIFE, and THE WOMAN WITH THE BLUE STAR. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department  in Poland.
These positions afforded Pam a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government and provided expertise regarding World War II and the Holocaust for Pam’s books.
She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney both at a firm and in-house and she is  presently on the faculty of Rutgers Law School.  Pam lives outside Philadelphia with her husband, three children, dog, cat, lizard, rabbit and bird.
Elyssa Friedland is the author of four novels and a forthcoming picture book. She attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, and is a graduate of Columbia Law School. She worked as an associate at a major firm before turning to write full-time. Recently, she has taught a course at Yale called Contemporary Novel Writing. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, McSweeney’s, LitHub, POPSUGAR, RealSimple.com, Bustle, Modern Bride, New York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS MarketWatch.com, Yale Alumni Magazine, and more. Elyssa resides in New York City with her husband and three young children.

Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish Bookfest presents Pam Jenoff, Code Name Sapphire moderated by Elyssa Friedland

February 22, 2023, at 7:00 pm | Free on zoom


Pam Jenoff returns to our virtual stage with a riveting tale of bravery and resistance inspired by the incredible true story of the mission to liberate prisoners from a train headed to Auschwitz. CODE NAME SAPPHIRE is a powerful novel about love, family, and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.1942. Hannah Martel narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at the port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.
Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Mateo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves?
When Pam Jenoff first discovered the true story of the mission to liberate prisoners from a train headed for Auschwitz, she was stunned. She wondered: how could people be so brave as to undertake such a dangerous attempt? And, at the same time, she wanted to know why more people had not tried to do the same thing to some of the countless trains that carried victims across Europe to the concentration camps. She decided that she would write a story about both the saboteurs and the people they sought to rescue. From there CODE NAME SAPPHIRE was born. “In real life, the three principal rescuers on this mission were men from the Jewish Defense Committee, but for this novel I decided to make one of them, Hannah, a Jewish woman, working in collaboration with other arms of the Belgian resistance,” Jenoff explains. “So many stories of women have been lost to a history that ignored them. Who is to say what women did behind the scenes without receiving credit?”
In the book, Jenoff interweaves the story of the train rescue with another remarkable aspect of the war: the escape lines throughout Belgium, Holland and France, and the heroes and heroines who bravely spirited downed Allied airmen safely out of Europe. Many of the leaders and volunteers of these well-organized lines were courageous women. The line she writes about, The Sapphire Line, is fictitious, but it was inspired by real lines, including The Comet Line. CODE NAME SAPPHIRE is a “fast-paced, heart-pounding tale of love, family, and the perils of resistance.