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Beyond Anne Frank

Hidden Children and Postwar Families in Holland

Diane L. Wolf (Author)


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ISBN: 9780520939707
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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.

1. The History and Memory of Hidden Children
2. Before and During the War: The Netherlands and the Jews
3. After the War: The Jews and the Netherlands
4. “My Mother Screamed and Screamed”: Memories of Occupation, War, and Hiding
5. “I Came Home, but I Was Homesick”: When Both Parents Returned
6. “They Were Out of Their Minds”: When One Parent Returned
7. “Who Am I?”: Orphans Living with Families
8. “There Was Never a Kind Word”: Life in Jewish Orphanages
9. Creating Postwar Lives, Creating Collective Memory: From the Personal to the Political

Diane L. Wolf is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis, and the author of the award-winning Factory Daughters: Gender, Household Dynamics, and Rural Industrialization in Java (UC Press). She is the editor of Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork and coeditor of Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories, Identities and Diasporas (2007).
“Well written and presents subjects dealing with the Holocaust that have not frequently been written about and discussed.”—Ajl Newsletter
“[Wolf] sensitively and compellingly shares these child survivors’ histories and post-war efforts to rebuild their shattered lives. Her ability to connect with her subjects and their willingness to share their struggles makes for a significant contribution to the Holocaust literature as well as to the study of the psychology of resilience and the dynamics of identity formation. . . . The arresting insights of this volume’s final chapters will be oft-cited and utilized by professionals from varying fields. All those concerned with the promotion of optimum childhood mental health in the face of painful challenges of hatred and indifference to children’s needs will find much of value in this important new work.”—Jewish Book World
“Debunks the myth—perpeturated by the story of Anne Frank—of Dutch tolerance and resistance, demonstrating both Dutch complicity with the Nazis and indifference to Jewish suffering. . . . A worthy addition to Holocaust scholarship.”—Publishers Weekly
"Beyond Anne Frank is so beautiful and thoughtfully written that I couldn't put it down. Diane Wolf's voice is human and humanistic, without glossing over any painful realities. She probes the subject from an impressive array of angles, considering a wide variety of types of experiences. This book is extraordinarily fine and I enthusiastically recommend it."—Lynn Davidman, author of Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism and Motherloss

"A deeply moving testimony to the experience of Nazi violence as embedded in the everyday life of children hidden in Gentile homes in the Netherlands. In finding the child's voice within the adult's narrative, this book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the vulnerability of children to the politics of hate."—Veena Das, author of Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary

"A remarkable piece of work. Beyond Anne Frank is sensitively researched and told, morally important, and politically consequential."—Jeffrey K. Olick, author of In the House of the Hangman: The Agonies of German Defeat, 1943-1949

"Beyond Anne Frank stands on its own as a humanistic engagement with a tragic moment in twentieth-century European history, written by a demonstrably gentle, compassionate witness to the tragedy."—Jeffrey Prager, author of Presenting the Past: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Misremembering

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