Author(s): Marcel Prins
Fourteen unforgettable true stories of children hidden away during World War II 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, Jaap 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 incredible stories told in HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK, a collection of eye-opening first-person accounts that share what it was like to go into hiding during World War II. Some children were only three or four years old 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 of brave people who kept them safe. And they share the coincidences and close escapes that made all the difference.
"Publishers Weekly" Starred ReviewKindled by his mother's own story and drawing from original interviews, Prins and co-author Steenhuis compile 14 accounts from Dutch-born individuals who lived in hiding as children during WWII. Rita Degen (Prins's mother) was yanked from school and sent to a foster family where she was forced to change her name and pretend to be age five to avoid having to wear a yellow star. Jaap Sitters was harassed at school after friends' parents became members of the National Socialist Movement; he chillingly recalls the claustrophobic crawlspace where he lay hidden in silent darkness. Auschwitz prisoner Bloeme Emden describes surviving deplorable conditions and the aftershocks of trauma after returning home: "I was bald and emaciated. He [my boyfriend] didn't recognize me until I spoke. Everything about you can change, but voices stay the same." These first-person stories of heroism and inhumanity explore the true scope of Holocaust atrocities, while also serving as a testament to resilience. Maps, footnotes, past and current photographs of the interviewees, and a glossary are included; additional resources are available on a companion Web site.
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.