Beyond Anne Frank: Hidden Children and Postwar Families in Holland
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.
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Page 13 - If haunting describes how that which appears to be not there is often a seething presence, acting on and often meddling with taken-forgranted realities, the ghost is just the sign, or the empirical evidence if you like, that tells you a haunting is taking place.
Page 33 - IDENTITY trauma occurs when members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks on their group consciousness, marking their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways.
Page 12 - Haunting is a constituent element of modern social life. It is neither premodern superstition nor individual psychosis; it is a generalizable social phenomenon of great import. To study social life one must confront the ghostly aspects of it.
Page 352 - Nora fears, purely in history. ln my reading, postmemory is distinguished from memory by generational distance and from history by deep personal connection. Postmemory is a powerful and very particular form of memory precisely because its connection to its object or source is mediated not through recollection but through an imaginative investment and creation.
Page 13 - The ghost is not simply a dead or a missing person, but a social figure, and investigating it can lead to that dense site where history and subjectivity make social life.
Page 289 - It was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because if you can bounce back, you can learn a great deal.
Page 99 - ... attention in the way that it did in Belgium and France, nor was the return of the survivors anxiously awaited. The atmosphere of indifference towards repatriates is illustrated, among many other reactions, by the Dutch historian Hondius. who recorded the welcome one Jewish survivor received: 'Well, quite a lot of your kind came back. Just be happy you were not here. How we suffered from hunger!'40 This very different response was reinforced by a deliberate government policy. The chaotic situation...
Page 107 - There was also an antisemitic streak in government circles and an inclination not to permit the Jews to regain the position they had had before the war. A determined struggle had to be waged by the Jews to gain recognition of their claims to the property that had been stolen from them. A government proposal to reimburse the holders of LIRO accounts with only 70 percent of the balance was vehemently denounced by the country's leading jurists, and in the end the government retracted and paid close...
Page 119 - ... Jewish guardians; in eighty-seven cases, the court had already allocated the children to fifty-one Jewish and thirty-six non-Jewish guardians. Of the rest, approximately one-third grew up in Christian homes. The further history of the OPK falls outside the province of this book, but we might add that there were quite a few cases in which judges saw fit to set aside the natural right of parents, as though their suffering during the war had not been more than most people could bear.
Page 118 - From this document it may be observed that the rescue of Jewish lives in the Netherlands did not necessarily imply the intent to preserve them as Jews: According to some people they [the children] must be given back to the Jewish community. In most cases the children were entrusted by the parents to resistance workers, and in other cases they [resistance workers], on their own, spirited them from the Germans.