Saturday, April 5, 2014
Hidden Like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis
But if you knew Anne and her family were hidden away from the Nazis, you also probably figured that there were more, many, many more that we haven't heard much about. Indeed, according to Marcel Prins, author of Hidden Like Anne Frtank, approximately 28,000 Jews went into hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Of those, around 16,000 survived, and 12,000 did not. Fascinated by his own mother's story of hiding and surviving, Prins collected stories of other children like her, and the result is Hidden Like Anne Frank, fourteen true stories of surviving the Holocaust by Jewish youths, both boys and girls, stories that are all different, all dangerous, all told in their own words.
Prins begins the book with his own mother's account of going into hiding. Only 5 at the time, Rita Degen was forced to lie about her age and say she only going on 5, not 6, so that she wouldn't have to wear the required Yellow Star that marked her as Jewish. She was quickly removed from her first foster family when someone recognized her, but luckily placed by the resistance in another home, where she was wanted.
Frightened by the deportations, Bloeme Emden, 16, was one of the people to be called up. Her father managed to get it delayed, but that didn't last long. She was told that if she didn't show up, her parents and younger sister would be taken. Bloeme managed to get away again, but ultimately ended up in Auschwitz, where she ran into friends from school - Margot and Anne Frank. Her parents and sister did not survive the Holocaust.
Hiding, constantly needing to change your identity, both name and religion, forced to lie and to live in fear are all part of the stories by these fourteen survivors. At times, most of these youths managed to survive with the help of the Dutch Resistance, at other times, they simply survived by their own wits using creativity, stealth, craftiness. Some found themselves in situations where they welcomed and cared for, others were taken advantage of, or terribly mistreated. They were separated from their families and many never saw them again. All of their individual stories attest to the horrors of the Holocaust.
Hidden Like Anne Frank is a fascinating, compellingly poignant collection of true stories. The individual accounts are not very long, but they certainly convey the fear and danger that al Jews in hiding were forced to live with day by day, never knowing if they would see tomorrow or not, if they would see their loved ones again or not. Prins has included lots of old photographs from the times before and after the children were hidden and at the end of the book, there are recent photographs of each person who contributed their story.
Hidden Like Anne Frank book should have lots of appeal for young readers, many, no doubt, will be drawn to it by Anne's name on the cover. But it is also a perfect collection for any classroom when students begin studying World War II and the Holocaust.
This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was received as an eARC from NetGalley
Be sure to visit the website devoted to Hidden like Anne Frank to hear more stories of survival told by these and other survivors.
This is book 1 of my European Reading Challenge hosted by Rose City Reader