From Publishers Weekly
What was the fate of Jewish children who were wrenched from their parents and hidden by Christians in Holland
during WWII? Max was returned postwar to his emotionally distant father and sexually abusive stepmother but always believed his foster parents were his true parents. When Rob's distraught brother wet his bed, their foster father sent him back to his parents and the boy was deported and killed with them. Louis's exploitative foster parents took money from his parents for his room and board but kept him in an unheated room without clean clothes or showers, and made Louis toil at piecework before giving him a meager meal. Ria's parents converted to Catholicism in gratitude to those who had hidden them, baptizing Ria as well. Anneke's Orthodox Jewish parents were murdered in Sobibor; after the war, custody was awarded to a Jewish organization but the girl was kidnapped and baptized by her Catholic foster mother. Through interviews with some 70 former hidden children, UC-Davis sociologist Wolf (Factory Daughters
) debunks the myth—perpetuated by the story of Anne Frank—of Dutch tolerance and resistance, demonstrating both Dutch complicity with the Nazis and indifference to Jewish suffering after the war. Although narrowly focused and dryly written, this sociological study is a worthy addition to Holocaust scholarship. Photos. (Jan.)
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The image of the Jewish child hiding from the Nazis was shaped by Anne Frank, whose house--the most visited site in the Netherlands-- has become a shrine to the Holocaust. Yet while Anne Frank's story continues to be discussed and analyzed, her experience as a hidden child in wartime Holland is anomalous--as this book brilliantly demonstrates. Drawing on interviews with seventy Jewish men and women who, as children, were placed in non-Jewish families during the Nazi occupation of Holland
, Diane L. Wolf paints a compelling portrait of Holocaust survivors whose experiences were often diametrically opposed to the experiences of those who suffered in concentration camps.
Although the war years were tolerable for most of these children, it was the end of the war that marked the beginning of a traumatic time, leading many of those interviewed here to remark, "My war began after the war." This first in-depth examination of hidden children vividly brings to life their experiences before, during, and after hiding and analyzes the shifting identities, memories, and family dynamics that marked their lives from childhood through advanced age. Wolf also uncovers anti-Semitism in the policies and practices of the Dutch state and the general population, which historically have been portrayed as relatively benevolent toward Jewish residents. The poignant family histories in Beyond Anne Frank
demonstrate that we can understand the Holocaust more deeply by focusing on postwar lives.