Jaap Sitters was only eight years old when his mother cut the yellow stars off his clothes and sent him, alone, on a fifteen-mile walk to hide with relatives. It was a terrifying night, one he would never forget. Before the end of the war, he would hide in secret rooms and behind walls. He would suffer from hunger, sickness, and the looming threat of Nazi raids. But he would live.
This is just one of the true stories told in Hidden Like Anne Frank, a collection of eye-opening first-person accounts that share the experience of going into hiding to escape the Holocaust. Some were just toddlers when they were hidden; some were teenagers. Some hid with neighbors or family, while many were with complete strangers. But all know the pain of losing their homes, their families, even their own names. They describe the secret network that kept them safe. And they share the coincidences and close calls that made all the difference.
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Marcel Prins was inspired to create this project by his own mother, who went into hiding in 1942 to escape Nazi persecution. She was just six years old. Marcel Prins is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cameraman. He lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Peter Henk Steenhuis is a journalist and the philosophy editor for the TROUW daily newspaper in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Gr 7 Up—While Anne Frank may have been the most famous of those who went into hiding during World War II, there were hundreds of others who did just about anything they could to escape the Nazis. Though most did not survive, this compilation of 14 stories describes those who did live to tell their tale. Inspired by his mother's account of hiding when she was just six years old, Prins interviewed other survivors. The tales are all horrifying and harrowing in their own ways yet are marked by an unvarnished tone that conveys an immediacy that sweeps readers into the narrative, making this tragic episode of history real and dramatic. One survivor had as many as 42 different addresses, while another describes hiding under floorboards for hours while German officers walked overhead. The threat of exposure by collaborators was ever present, and the trauma didn't end after the war, as most lost many family members or had their homes given away and all traces of their former lives were gone. Photographs of the contributors, both now and then, as well as a glossary are included. An accompanying website with excerpts, maps, animations, and other material is quite engaging and worth perusing. This moving and powerful title is an important addition to any history collection.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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