In 1940, while the Germans occupied Holland, fourteen-year-old Edith van Hessen was filling her diary with the intimate, carefree details of a typical teenager's life — thoughts about boys, school, her family, her friends, her future. By 1942, as Edith was contemplating her first kiss, the Germans had begun to escalate their war against the Jews. Soon this bright, fun-loving girl was grappling with one of the most unfathomable events in human history. Edith's family — assimilated Dutch Jews — were caught in the cross fire of the Holocaust, and Edith began a bitter struggle to survive.
In this extraordinary work, Edith Velmans weaves together revealing entries from her diaries with reminiscences and letters smuggled between family members during the occupation. Edith's Story stands as a profoundly important addition to the literature of the Holocaust, documenting one girl's grief, loss, courage, and ultimate triumph over devastating tyranny and despair. For as Edith is hidden in plain sight by a Christian family, we witness how a young woman must deny, bargain with, and finally face the horrors of war — and how, confronting evil as a child, Edith survives to become an extraordinary woman.
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"I never realized that there could be such suffering in the world, and that anyone could live through it."
-- Excerpt from Edith's diary, July 1, 1945
"Truly moving...leaving one with great hope in humanity."
-- The Times (London)
"Edith's Story, the memoir of an Anne Frank who lived, reminds us of the old horror all the more effectively by not being a horror story. Evil and grief, without being scanted, are outshone by sweetness, freshness, and pluck."
-- Roy Blount Jr.
International praise for Edith's Story:
"The most vivid evocation of the experience of Nazi Occupation I have ever read."
-- The Independent (London)
"It's impossible to get through this inspiring and great-hearted volume dry-eyed, or without admiration for people who so bravely persevere through unimaginable hardship and privation."
-- The Washington Post
"Velmans' candid portrayal of herself as a feisty, loving, sometimes self-absorbed teenager is thoroughly engaging and her story throws a new light on the plight of Jews who survived the war hidden in plain sight."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Edith's Story gives all the pain and pleasure of reading Anne Frank for the first time."
-- Esther Freud
"A significant Holocaust memoir... A valuable opportunity to see the situation just outside Anne's attic."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"A quiet, gripping narrative with the writer's hindsight and restrained commentary."
-- ALA Booklist (starred review)
"One of the best and most moving memoirs I have ever read."
-- Ruth Rendell
"The miracle of this story is not that Edith survived, but that she survived with her love of life intact."
-- The Roanoke Times
After the war, Edith Velmans became a psychologist and eventually settled in the United States. In 1996, she was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She and her husband now live in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 140276890
Book Description Penguin Books, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140276890