- Book Name:The Diary Keepers: World War II in the Netherlands, as Written by the People Who Lived Through It
- Book Author:Nina Siegal
- Book Genre:History, Nonfiction, World War II
- Book ISBN:0063070650
- Book ASIN:0063070650
- Date of Publication:February 21, 2023
- PDF File Size:27.77Mb
- EPUB File Size:26.41Mb
A riveting look at the story of World War II and the Holocaust through the diaries of Dutch citizens, firsthand accounts of ordinary people living through extraordinary times Based on select writings from a collection of more than two thousand Dutch diaries written during World War II in order to record this unparalleled time, and maintained by devoted archivists, The Diary Keepers illuminates a part of history we haven’t seen in quite this way before, from the stories of a Nazi sympathizing police officer to a Jewish journalist who documented daily activities at a transport camp.Journalist Nina Siegal, who grew up in a family that had survived the Holocaust in Europe, had always wondered about the experience of regular people during World War II. She had heard stories of the war as a child and Anne Frank’s diary, but the tales were either crafted as moral lessons — to never waste food, to be grateful for all you receive, to hide your silver — or told with a punch line. The details of the past went untold in an effort to make it easier 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 and in what way did it relate to the famed tolerance people in the Netherlands were always talking about? Perhaps more importantly, how could she raise a Jewish child in this country without knowing these answers?Searching and singular, The Diary Keepers mines the diaries of ordinary citizens to understand the nature of resistance, the workings of memory, and the ways we reflect on, commemorate, and re-envision the past.
that the nation’s leadership today is largely in line with the museum’s educational goals. Indeed, the government’s attitude has changed. “Since the last survivors are still among us, I apologize today in the name of the government for what the authorities did at that time,” Prime Minister Rutte said during the seventy-fifth anniversary of Liberation in 2020. “Our government did not act as the guardian of justice and security.” The acknowledgment was a comparatively long time in coming, considering that French president Jacques Chirac admitted to France’s role in the World War II murder of Jews in 1995, Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt in 2002, even Austria, which not only joined the Reich, but supplied it with some of its most vicious Nazi leaders, acknowledged, in 2000, and again in 2006, responsibility for its failures.14 Many in government recognize that there is a greater urgency to address the ongoing repercussions, especially as anti-Semitism is increasing in Europe once again. CIDI, a Dutch organization that monitors anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands, in 2020 reported a dramatic rise, from 2013 to 2019, in anti-Semitic vandalism, online harassment, verbal abuse, and “real life incidents” involving violence or cruelty. Its study found a decline of such “incidents” (from 182 to 135) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the public stayed home, but concurrently, “a steep rise in the number of conspiracy theories” in which “Jews are portrayed as the cause and/or beneficiaries of the coronavirus with an alarming and growing frequency, in the Netherlands and worldwide.”15 Schrijver sees the uptick in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe and locally as another good reason to open the museum’s doors. “There’s a stronger need for awareness, a stronger need to be warned, than there was before,” he said. “There’s also a lot more to talk about.”16 One thing to talk about is a spike in denialism and false Holocaust equivalencies in Europe. Just a few weeks before the Names Monument was unveiled in Amsterdam, Dutch right-wing activists protesting public health measures, including a requirement to wear masks on public transportation and show a QR code as proof of vaccination, wore T-shirts with the Star of David printed on them, and the word #ongevaccineerd (#unvaccinated) in the center.