Anne Frank Was Only One of Thousands in Occupied Netherlands That Kept Diaries. Others Include Dutch Nazis, Farmers, and Resisters
Growing up in New York as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Nina Siegal had always wondered about the experience of her mother and maternal grandparents living in Europe during World War II. She had heard stories of the war as a child from her mother and grandfather, and read Anne Frank’s diary in school, but the tales were crafted as moral lessons — to never waste food, to be grateful for all you receive, to hide your silver — while the details of the past went untold to make it easier to assimilate into American life. When Siegal moved to Amsterdam as an adult, those questions came up again, as did another horrifying one: Why did seventy five percent of the Dutch Jewish community perish in the war, while in other Western European countries the proportions were significantly lower? How did this square with the narratives of Dutch resistance she had heard so much about? Siegal decided to get into the archives and look at wartime diaries of Dutch citizens from all walks of life and eventually wrote “The Diary Keepers World War II In The Netherlands, as Written by the People Who Lived Through It.” Siegal joins us to discuss a part of history we haven’t seen in quite this way before. We look at stories of a Dutch Nazi police detective, a Jewish journalist imprisoned at Westerbork transit camp, a grocery store owner who saved dozens of lives, and several others into a braided nonfictional narrative of the Nazi occupation and the Dutch Holocaust, as individuals experienced it day by day.
February 28, 2023
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