She and Audrey were the same age and lived in different towns not far from each other. After the war she met Ann's father the only survivor in the family but she wold never consent to play his daughter in a movie. There is a picture of them together in the book as well as photos of Audrey's family and pl;aces important to her life. Her mother soon changed her mind about Hitler but it was to late and they suffered war on their own doorstep and over their heads. Throughout this Audrey had her dancing and became Arnhem's most famous ballerina.
She also worked in the Resistance as an assistant to a doctor. Audrey never talked about her life at that time much and I can understand why. My father was an ex-POW who was held in a German prison camp for 21 months and he didn't talk much about his experiences either but internalized it like Audrey did and 50 years later he would still wake up screaming.
I can only imagine what kind of dreams he had or that Audrey must have had because of her own tragic war experiences. Author Robert Matzen does talk a lot about the history of WWII in the book which some people might not like for whatever reason but to understand Audrey, or anyone really, as a person there is no way he couldn't talk about it. She was there. She lived it. She was fortunate to have survived and made a success of her life despite it but always had that shadow of the war hanging over her.
I find her an extraordinary woman and I am so glad we were able to learn something about her history and it makes me love her even more! I also give tremendous respect to the author for bringing her story to us. Well done! Many thanks to NetGalley, author Robert Matzen and Paladin Communications publisher for giving me the opportunity to read the fantastic book! The foreword is written by her youngest son, Luca Dotti.
Audrey Hepburn was shy, introvert that longed to be a dancer in the ballet. It was her dream to become a dancer. It was these dance lessons that allowed her to become more expressive in life. As a reader, we follow this young girl who longed to be a dancer through her traumatic time in the Netherlands during the war. We find out in this interesting book why Audrey Hepburn was so hesitant to talk about the war during interviews with the media. Dutch Girl gives historical context to the beloved star and her family during this devastating period. We follow the family and Audrey as they grieve, they starve, and live in their cellar.
Dutch Girl is a wonderfully written book and has been well researched. I loved this book because I truly felt with every page I was learning something new. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Audrey Hepburn, like myself, or a lover of history. Lizbeth D, Reviewer. I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, Netgalley. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. In the only biography approved by her son, Mr. Matzen has carefully retold the story of Audrey Hepburn's past that she kept very closely hidden.
Well written and thoughtful, we met Ms. Hepburn before she met the cameras. The author obviously did extensive research for this book. It was interesting to read Audrey's early years growing up during the Nazi occupation. Especially, reading about her parents. Which I found to be unexpected and surprising. I believe many readers who like to read history would enjoy this book and want to learn more about Audrey Hepburn's life. I give it five stars. Most definitely worth a read. I received this book from the publisher. Hannah H, Reviewer. I've been a fan of Audrey Hepburn's work since I was very young.
I remember growing up with her movies and loving her style. This book isn't the first I've read about her life, not even the first that's touched on her childhood. However, this book provides such a unique perspective. Before reading this book, I was unaware of the experiences that she'd had during the war. Which made this book incredibly appealing to me.
The depth that this book goes into was incredible. It provides an interesting and honest look into the early life of one of the worlds most loved stars, and the inclusion of photographs adds a whole extra layer. I found myself falling into this book, wanting to know more and more.
I've always had an interest in wartime experiences, which made this book even more compelling to me, and I was interested in the parallels between Audrey and Anne Frank. This book gave a lot of information and was written in an interesting way, that kept me turning the pages. I'd say, even if you've read other books about Audrey's life.
This one is definitely worth a read as it goes into areas that a lot of other books hadn't touched.
Peppy O, Educator. Audrey Hepburn has always been one of my favorite actress of all time, so I was very eager to read this biographical account of her life after the German invasion and the subsequent course of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWll. She was ten when the war began and 15 when it ended. Her son Luca Dotti wrote the Foreword to this book thanking the author for writing the book.
The book is well researched and gives a vivid insight into the personal tragic experiences, near starvation and other horrors she and her family went through during the war. Yet, they were resilient and courageous and were involved with the Dutch Resistance. Audrey became very involved in dance and ballet. She participated in ballet performances in order to help raise money for the Dutch resistance. I highly recommend this book.
Charline A, Reviewer. We all think we know the story of Hollywood star Audrey Hepburn. But this book, released on April 15th, just weeks before what would have been her 90th birthday, adds fighter, survivor and heroine to that list of superlatives, in this fascinating never before told story of her life during WW2. Bestselling biographer Robert Matzen goes into great detail in this meticulously researched book. Even Audrey's son, Luca Dotti says the book is a "true gift". Audrey was a shy and awkward ten year old when the war broke out.
She lived her teenage years throughout the war which affected her greatly. But it also gave her empathy and a great understanding to protect children in one of her most satisfying roles, that of a UNICEF ambassador in later life. During the war in the Dutch town of Velp, she witnessed unbelievable horrors that no young girl should see. Her and her family suffered great malnutrition and risked their lives helping a soldier hide in their home. This aspiring ballerina who would go on to be an Academy Award winner ate tulip bulbs to survive and helped her local doctor tend to the wounded as bombs flew over head.
One of the most interesting chapters for me was Death Candidate where we are told the story of Audrey's beloved Uncle Otto, who would not survive the war. This is a story of war in all its brutal truth. It just so happens our heroine turns into one of the greatest leading ladies on and off screen we have ever seen. Making her triumphs even more extraordinary. Thank you Netgalley and Smith Publicity for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Monique D, Reviewer. She lived in the Netherlands during World War 2 and all the struggles that come with it. This book is extremely well researched and in my opinion Matzen has a very good grip of this time period and the Dutch people, it is very accurate as far as I know, but I do know a lot.
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This story reminded me a lot of how my grandparents experienced the war, though Audrey has her own very specific challenges. However, this book can be a bit dry because it definitely is non fiction and a lot of facts and names are dropped. But if you are a fan of Audrey or if you are interested in this time period it is definitely worth the read, it is very interesting.
Julia W, Reviewer. It also touches on her life up until her death in aged just 63 years from abdominal cancer — a cruel end for a beautiful lady who gave so much. Not only did the war years shape Audrey Hepburn but her love of dancing did. She was incredibly brave and saw things no one should have to see. The faces of the Jewish men, women and children as they were herded into cattle cars would haunt her forever.
We see the elegant, beautiful woman on screen but Audrey Hepburn thought she was ugly and ungainly with large hands and feet as a teen. Her poise and beauty are what I remember Audrey Hepburn for — and none more so than her transformation in My Fair Lady. As a historian it was both fascinating and horrifying. As a fan of Audrey Hepburn I admire her even more after reading this book. Audrey Hepburn was so much more than just a beautiful face — she was incredibly brave and full of compassion.
Thank you Robert Matzen for opening my eyes to the brave and very beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Thank you also for showing the true picture of WWII. We owe it to the six million innocents to keep their memory alive. I received this book for free.
In the Uniform of the Enemy: The Dutch Waffen-SS
A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. I have always loved Audrey Hepburn's films. She just shines on the screen She was a kind and giving person, as well as intelligent and talented. This book talks about Audrey's life before Hollywood My respect for her has increased so much since I finished reading this book.
She worked as a doctor's assistant, witnessed brutality, hunger and death, and survived it all. This book is not about Audrey as an actress Her film career is mentioned only in passing. This book is about Audrey's years growing up during the war and how those experiences shaped who she became as an adult. Her life is so much more than her Hollywood career!!
This is the first book by Robert Matzen that I've read. I'm definitely going to read his other books, starting with the one about Jimmy Stewart's war service: Mission on my TBR shelf already. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Sascha D, Reviewer. But then things began to pick up and there was war, which sounds horrible, but that's what we're here for, so, oh well. Matzen does an excellent job of weaving war history with Hepburn's. The reader cares not only about Hepburn but also those civilians around her, just trying to get by.
We are devastated when her beloved Uncle Otto, one of the father figures in her life, is slaughtered as an act of German retribution. We enjoy her dance triumphs and then live through the months of starvation, watch as neighbors are killed, allied soldiers who were supposed to be saviors die. We feel the horror of war as experienced by someone most of us have seen in a movie. We try to imagine that woman, the one who strummed the guitar and sang Moon River as this girl who helped doctors who were part of a resistance, and then find, yes, we can believe that she would be that girl. While I was not always a fan of Matzen's non-linear story-telling, I could appreciate his intentions.
I felt that this was more for the Hepburn's fans, those who needed the Hollywood tie-in, those reading just for another glimpse of the actress than for readers interested in the war and how it affected her. However, her comments on her preceding years were interesting. I could also completely understand her shutting down interviews when they wanted to delve into her personal life. What I came away with was not only how Hepburn was affected, it's life-long toll on her, but how completely devastating war is to all of its participants.
Matzen vividly portrayed the months of starvation, the cold, the desperation, the feeling of sadness that the original liberators did not liberate. The terror of the allied bombs that would unintentionally kill civilians. The daily fear that the Germans' last line of defense, the V1 rockets would ultimately rain down upon the town because of their defects.
I also came away with the knowledge that there have always been judgy individuals trying to find fault with others, even ones like Hepburn, who exuded goodness and fairness and always tried to do the right thing. Hepburn was and always will be a role model for the best of humanity. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Heather D, Reviewer. If so, then Dutch Girl is the book for you.
I have loved reading memoirs and biographies about World War II since grade school so, I was interested to hear about her part during the war. Audrey grew up in the Netherlands where she lived with her mother and father. After her father left, she was sent to a boarding school in England.
Her mother was very strict and not one who showed affection. Audrey started taking ballet which she loved. Even though she was considered tall for a ballerina, she was graceful. Audrey moved back to live with her mom and a few other relatives. During the war she kept dancing as long as she could. She assisted the war effort by helping with the resistance.
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This biography goes back and forth between Audrey as an adult and Audrey during the war. She was ten when it started and fifteen when it ended. The descriptions in this book are superb. Reading this book you feel as thought you are there with Audrey experiencing every moment of the war.
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The views expressed are mine and of my own free will. I will definitely be looking out for other biographies by Mr. Kristine F, Reviewer. Matzen as unburying deeply hidden records on Hepburn's mother Ella, as strict, non-coddling mother, a baroness, and the writer of a pro-socialist newspaper , her father, Joseph, who claims the last name Hepburn after his ancestor, the third husband of Mary Queen of Scots , and her own early life not a fan of learning, thrives in dance, performs publicly as often as she safely can, self-esteem issues tied to her appearance, air raids in her town of Arnhem as Allied forces and paratroopers begin to threaten the Axis with fires, bombs, and gunfire, low to no sources of heat in the wintertime, her metabolism permanently affected.
Ella a stage barre? Audrey later feeling a profound, emotional reaction toward Anne Frank's book in , born just about a month apart, and feeling a deep kinship. Later, she builds selfless, non-complaining, disciplined exterior personality that's marveled at in Hollywood by low-key funding Dutch Resistance with dance performances, funding war relief in Holland in the s, linking a UNICEF visit to Somalia to her experiences in Arnhem. Kathy M, Reviewer. It is a targeted biography that mentions her life before and after the war, but the main focus was her horrific experiences during the war that shaped her life.
Another was her complicated relationship with her mother and father — both early sympathizers of the Nazi regime. She fell in love with ballet before the occupation — it gave her a freedom of expression and she performed locally in Holland before, during and after the war. She performed for allied soldiers in secret for the Resistance as well as delivering newsletters and food to the soldiers as an assistant to the local physician.
The book went into great detail of the battles between Allied and German forces that took place in and around her home in Velp. She and her family took shelter in their cellar where she suffered severe malnutrition as well as enduring the trauma of constant battle. The book devastated Audrey and when asked to play Anne in a movie, she declined the role as well as other offers due to the extreme pain of that time period. It was interesting that she starting acting in order to finance her ballet lessons after the war ended — she kind of fell into acting and never considered herself to be a great actress.
After reading this biography, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for her vulnerability as an artist and activist — a deeper appreciation for the complex person she was. Many know about her talents, gracefulness and philanthropy - but not much is documented of her upbringing. Not only was in informative, but also beautifully written. We learn about her interesting family dynamics, and how her mother got swept into the glamor of Nazi politics.
Asera L, Reviewer. Her personal experiences in wartime is harrowing to read. Stories about her other relatives were enjoyable. There were a few things that bothered me. The many and varied titles of nobility got rather confusing as I continued onto the story. And details of the war can get very technical? I felt very out of depth. All in all, reading this book made me understand a lot about her. For that I am grateful. Kim J, Librarian. Audrey Hepburn was a screen star admired by many for her transcendent talent, and someone admired in her private life for doing much good for worthy causes like UNICEF.
After reading this biography, however, I had even more reason to admire her. Did you know that she spent five years of her life—ages —in Nazi-occupied Holland, was a part of the Dutch Resistance even at that young age, starved along with the rest of that oppressed country, and was forever shaped by those experiences? This book explores those years. And, it is fitting it has been published not long before May 5 which would have been her 90th birthday had she lived.
Hepburn died at age And, yes, her wartime experiences did contribute to that early demise. Hepburn was born to an English father, and a titled Dutch mother from a prestigious and influential family in that country. In the s, her parents were duped—as many were—into having Nazi sympathies. Her mother during the war, however, becomes a supporter of the Dutch Resistance and the Allies, and at the close of the war is exonerated from charges of being a Nazi sympathizer. Her father abandons her family, and Audrey at a young age moves back to Holland from England.
Her family is devastated when a beloved uncle is executed by the Nazis, her half brother goes into hiding to avoid being conscripted by the Nazis, and she finds refuge in her love of ballet. During the war, she even uses her skills as a rising ballet star to raise funds for the Dutch resistance. Through a network of doctors at the local hospital who are secretly active in the Dutch Resistance, she begins—in her early teens—carrying food and messages to downed Allied fighter pilots and Jews being hidden by the local people.
She also survives the bloody Battle of Arnhem, helping to tend those who are wounded. When her small town becomes the focal point of battle, she is exposed to war at its worst. The book is very well researched and documented. And is riveting reading. I was able to locate more than 6, words spoken by Audrey about World War II, and in the end I plugged them into the story of the war and the part the Netherlands played in it.
And, son of a gun, her quotes made sense, including all those stories she told about the Resistance. It was fate—there was no other explanation—that she and Ella had left Velp and were living in Amsterdam below the apartment of a publishing house employee who was working on this soon-to-be released, strange wartime dagboek, or diary, of a young Jewish girl. They were written in Dutch by Anne to a fictional friend named Kitty. Anne was four years old when the Franks began a new life in Amsterdam.
Her father ran a successful business until after the German occupation, and when Margo Frank received a summons to appear before the Nazis in July , the family went into hiding. Now here it was, six crazy years later. Audrey no longer lived in a one-room flat in Amsterdam; she had just completed the run of Gigi on Broadway, U.
Everywhere she went in America, people fell in love with her unusual looks and quiet, humble manner. With the performances, social engagements, interviews, photo shoots, and appearances associated with a successful Broadway show, there would be times her mind shook free of memories of the war. But all that changed in a heartbeat today. Today she learned that the American edition of Het Achterhuis was about to be released. For U. Audrey and Anne were two dark-haired Dutch girls who had been born in countries other than the Netherlands.
They were less than six weeks apart in age—Audrey born 4 May and Anne 12 June Separated by a distance of just 60 miles, Audrey and Anne had experienced the same war with all its milestones, from German occupation to the battles for Britain and Russia to the bombing of Berlin to D-Day—as followed by both girls with their families on Radio Oranje. They experienced the same Nazis in all their brutality. Announcements of their deaths appear in the papers frequently.
And on the platform were soldiers herding more Jewish families with their poor little bundles and small children.
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For months, breakfast was hot water and one slice of bread made from brown beans. Broth for lunch was made with one potato and there was no milk, sugar, cereals or meat of any kind. Up until Market Garden, times were lean and stomachs always rumbled. Now, four full months later, Audrey and her family were suffering horribly from malnutrition.
One official report said that by February , more than Dutch people were dying of hunger each week. She always told stories about the war. The war was very, very important to her. It made her who she was. She knew all about it. Audrey came back from Ethiopia, Venezuela, and Ecuador in ; from Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Mexico, the Sudan, and Thailand in ; from Vietnam in and Somalia in with her heart broken after every journey through barren, contested lands where children were starving.
Or dying. Or already dead. She was so skinny. I felt something was really wrong. Totally devastated. Then we all thought for quite a while that she had caught a bug in Somalia, maybe some intestinal flu or some complicated disease. As sure as if a Nazi bullet had finally tracked her down, World War II claimed this woman who had cheated death in the Netherlands time and again. The date was 20 January The cause of death: abdominal cancer. Linda S, Reviewer. This book drew my interest as a fan of Audrey Hepburn, however, after reading it, I'm even more impressed by the person that she was and what she overcame.
Written with the approval of her son, this book delves into Audrey's childhood and life during World War 2. As a child in the Netherlands, Nazi occupation and fear of Hitler was enormous. Well researched and difficult to read at times, this book gives insight as to why Hepburn became such a vocal advocate for UNICEF and why she seemed so caring and selfless.
Hollywood isn't mentioned as this is based upon Hepburn's youth but it is well worth the read for historical significance. I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Sylvia M, Reviewer. Audrey Hepburn was a screen star adored by many including me for her awe-inspiring talent, and someone admired in her private life for doing much good for worthy causes like UNICEF.
After reading this biography, however, one cannot help but, admire her. Did you know that she spent five years of her life—ages —in Nazi-occupied Holland, and was a part of the Dutch Resistance even at that young age, starved along with the rest of that oppressed country, and was forever shaped by those experiences?
I would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to review this great biography and a book on the history and effects of World War 11 and Holland. Lauren S, Reviewer. Audrey Hepburn is such an iconic actress and I've seen so many of her films multiple times. Outside of her films though I didn't know much about her life, especially as a young woman growing up during WWII in Europe. This biography from Robert Matzen is a fascinating read if you're interested in her life. I learned so much about her and I can definitely say that I have a newfound respect for her knowing what she went through.
Audrey and her family lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and witnessed the terrible events of the war first hand, including the Hunger Winter of I knew nothing about her parents going in and their story is just as interesting given all of the circumstances. One thing that I didn't expect was the close connection between Audrey and Anne Frank - they were almost exactly the same age and lived fairly close to one another, but their lives were very different.
Trick W, Reviewer. I so enjoyed this book and her story. I knew that she had experienced the war and it affected her but not to the extent of what I read. So much so many scared and then to live as long as she did and make a life for herself!! I will read the other books from this persn!! Elizabeth H, Reviewer. This was a fascinating work.
It makes me want to learn more about the rest of her history. I am fascinated by this time period, but knew nothing about what happened in this area. Dianne M, Reviewer. All Audrey Hepburn fans this is it! But don't expect to find this book. She suffered starvation and deprivation along with her mother,mothers family. She did make it to Hollywood,after the war,but it wasn't her first choice,she wanted to be a ballet dancer. She did many interviews,over the yrs. She retired from Hollywood,after 27 yrs.
I'n the business to raise her two sons. She lived an enjoyable life,after all the glamour yrs. She died at the age of 63 due to stomach cancer. Camille B, Reviewer. The book is very long, because Robert Matzen skillfully gives the whole historical context in order to understand everything that's going on. The writing is very lively and reads much like a novel. You can tell right from the start that Matzen has done extensive research and manages to deliver brilliantly. I learned so much from this book and was never bored. Disclaimer - I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review from GoodKnight Books.
Lauren B, Reviewer.
I have been a fan of Audrey Hepburn's movies since I was in high school. No matter what "level" of fan you are, this is great book for you to pick up. It's great to learn about not only her personal history, but also about where she comes from familial wise. Diane J, Reviewer. If you're looking for a biography that delves into the glamour and glitz of being a world-acclaimed actress, this could be disappointing as very little of the content is dedicated to that side of Audrey Hepburn's life.
However, those who want to read an absolutely fascinating account of the real life of Hepburn will find it here. Just as the events of the second world war were to fashion and permeate a large percentage of her life, we are led to feel the effects of the harrowing times that the child and teenager was to suffer. Not only does this enlighten me as to what life must truly have been like for the frustrated young aspiring dancer, but it provided me with a deeper knowledge of what the Occupation meant for the Dutch citizens and just how terrifying those days must have been.
As Matzen states, Hepburn was a remarkable survivor and her later work with Unicef was further proof of this. There were obviously many sufferers and survivors from the second world war but somehow this account really reached out to me. Cheryl B, Librarian. I found this account of Audrey Hepburn's early years in Nazi occupied Netherlands riveting. It gives new depth to this actress that I have long admired. It balances the terrors of the war with her emerging love for dance and performance.
Her family was not untouched by the brutality of war, but this taught the young Hepburn an appreciation of life that she carried with her beyond those difficult years. This book was well researched and a gripping read. I will definitely look for the companion titles about Jimmy Stewart and Carol Lombard and their war experiences. DR P, Reviewer. So often biographies can seem unfair, written without the subject having a chance to correct anything.
In fact I have always admired Audrey Hepburn, since unwittingly! This book took me there, as if I had been a part of it. Betcei B, Librarian. A fascinating biography of Audrey Hepburn. From her birth to death her life was filled with adventure. Audrey Hepburn exemplified one who rises above all troubles and is a wonderful example for everyone.
John M, Reviewer. Once again I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and impartially review. Warning - Spoiler Alert Though i have to confess it is quite difficult to review this excellent book without giving away spoilers for my fellow readers. Her Mother and English Father were initially Nazi supporters, she wrote propaganda articles for British fascist magazines, and her Father was detained in prison during the war for his pro German beliefs.
When war looked imminent her Mother recalled Audrey from school in England to the Netherlands as she believed that as in the First World War, the Germans would respect their neutrality, so Audrey the would be Ballet Dancer spent the majority of the War with her family in a small town not far from Arnhem. Yes that Arnhem of a Bridge to Far fame. This is the story of a brave compassionate girl who suffered the horrors of War at close quarters, the danger of imminent death from both sides, food shortages, and all while volunteering at the local hospital, and aiding the resistance where she could but so much more that i cannot reveal without further spoilers.
This is a fascinating meticulously researched book, well written and so descriptive you feel a part of the story that is as good a fiction. Lisa S, Reviewer. Audrey Hepburn was terrified. The teenage girl was returning from delivering a message to an Allied airman when she saw German soldiers coming towards her. She knew that she would not only be asked for her identity, but also what she was doing. This required fast thinking. Audrey started picking wildflowers, smiled sweetly at the soldiers, and told them that she was taking the flowers home.
Her mother saw the light quite quickly, however, once the Nazis invaded Holland. Although Audrey did manage to establish a fledgling ballet career during the war, she had a terrible time. Her beloved uncle was taken hostage and shot. She saw her older brother dragged to a Nazi camp and Jews taken away on the cattle trains. She lived in Velp near Arnhem and towards the end of the war, people were suffering from malnutrition, including Audrey herself.
The war raged around them and they turned to despair when the Battle of Arnhem was lost. During this dreadful time, Audrey and her mother helped a doctor who worked for the Resistance, Audrey delivered a Resistance newspaper, and her family even hid an Allied airman! She also helped to raise funds for the Resistance.
This is a well-researched story which reads like a novel and might make people see the wonderful star in a different light. The only point that I would quibble at is that seems to give the impression that all of the Mitford sisters were pro-Nazi. Nancy was very much for the Allied cause and Jessica became a Communist and ran away to America. The first act of resistance was therefore the refusal by members of the Dutch forces to sign any document to that effect. The 2, Dutch soldiers who died defending their country, together with at least civilians who perished in the flames of Rotterdam, were the first victims of a Nazi occupation which was to last five years.
The Nazis, who considered the Dutch to be fellow Aryans , were more manipulative in the Netherlands than in other occupied countries, which made the occupation seem mild, at least at first.
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The occupation was run by the German Nazi Party rather than by the Armed Forces, which had terrible consequences for the Jewish citizens of the Netherlands. This was the case because the main goals of the Nazis were the Nazification of the populace, the creation of a large-scale aerial attack and defense system, and the integration of the Dutch economy into the German economy. As Rotterdam was already Germany's main port, it remained so and collaboration with the enemy was widespread. The open terrain and dense population, the densest in Europe, made it difficult to conceal illegal activities [contradicted above by the rather condescending claim that "the Dutch seemed to be very good at hiding"]; unlike for example, the Maquis in France, who had ample hiding places.
Furthermore, the country was surrounded by German-controlled territory on all sides, offering few escape routes. The entire coast was forbidden territory for all Dutch people, which makes the phenomenon of Engelandvaarder an even more remarkable act of resistance. The first German round-up of Jews in February led to the first general strike against the Germans in Europe and indeed one of only two such throughout occupied Europe , which shows that the general sentiment among the Dutch population was anti-German.
If the Germans discovered people were involved in the resistance, they were often immediately jailed. It was the social democrats , Catholics , and communists who started the resistance movement. The increasing attacks against Dutch fascists and Germans led to large-scale reprisals, often involving dozens, even hundreds of randomly chosen people who, if not executed, died after being deported.
Most of the adult males in the village of Putten for example, which had inhabitants, shared this fate. The Nazis deported the Jews to concentration and extermination camps , rationed food, and withheld food stamps as a punishment. They started large-scale fortifications along the coast and constructed some 30 airfields, paying with money they claimed from the national bank at a rate of million guilders a month the so-called 'costs of the occupation'. They also forced adult males between 18 and 45 to work in German factories or on public work projects. In most trains were diverted to Germany, known as 'the great train robberies', and in total, some , Dutch people were selected to be sent to Germany as forced labourers.
Males over the age of 14 were deemed 'able to work' and females over the age of Over the next five years, as conditions became increasingly harsh and difficult, resistance became better organized and more forceful. In the Netherlands, the Germans managed to exterminate a relatively large proportion of the Jews. Furthermore, shortly after the Nazis took over the government, they demanded all Dutch public servants fill out an "Aryan Attestation" in which they were asked to state in detail their religious and ethnic ancestry.
The American author Mark Klempner writes, "Though there was some protest, not just from the government employees, but from several churches and universities, in the end, all but twenty of , Dutch civil servants dutifully sic! On 25 February , the Communist Party of the Netherlands called for a general strike, the 'February strike', in response to the first Nazi raid on Amsterdam's Jewish population. Many citizens of Amsterdam, regardless of their political affiliation, joined in a mass protest against the deportation of Jewish Dutch citizens.
The strike was largely put down within a day with German troops firing on unarmed crowds, killing nine people and wounding 24, as well as taking many prisoners. Opposition to the German occupation intensified as a result of the violence against non-combative Dutch people albeit in support of the Jews. The only other general strike in Nazi-occupied Europe was the general strike in occupied Luxembourg in The Dutch struck four more times against the Germans: the students' strike in November , the doctors' strike in , the April—May strike in and the railway strike in The February strike was also unusual for the Dutch resistance, which was more covert.
Resistance in the Netherlands initially took the form of small-scale, decentralized cells engaged in independent activities, mostly small-scale sabotage such as cutting phone lines, distributing anti-German leaflets or tearing down posters. Some small groups had no links with others. They produced forged ration cards and counterfeit money, collected intelligence, published underground papers such as De Waarheid , Trouw , Vrij Nederland , and Het Parool ; they also sabotaged phone lines and railways, produced maps, and distributed food and goods.
One of the most popular activities was hiding and sheltering refugees and enemies of the Nazi regime, which included concealing Jewish families like that of Anne Frank , underground operatives, draft-age Dutchmen and, later in the war, Allied aircrew. Collectively these people were known as onderduikers 'people in hiding' or literally: 'under-divers'.
Corrie ten Boom and her family were among those who successfully hid several Jews and resistance workers from the Nazis. Amongst the other activities was printing, The local printers within Amsterdam, made fake IDs from stolen plates, and members of the team stole official paper from the occupying Germans to make other documents necessary for those in hiding. After Hitler had approved Anton Mussert as "Leider van het Nederlandse Volk" Leader of the Dutch People in December , he was allowed to form a national government institute, a Dutch shadow cabinet called " Gemachtigden van den Leider ", which would advise Reichskommissar Arthur Seyss-Inquart from 1 February The institute would consist of a number of deputies in charge of defined functions or departments within the administration.
As a result, the Communist resistance group CS-6 under Dr. Gerrit Kastein for their address, 6 Corelli Street, in Amsterdam , concluded that the new institute would eventually lead to a National-Socialist government, which would then introduce general conscription to enable the call-up of Dutch nationals for the Eastern Front. After approval from the Dutch government-in-exile, on the evening of Friday 5 February , after answering a knock at his front door in Scheveningen , Den Haag , Seyffardt was shot twice by student Jan Verleun who had accompanied Dr.
Kastein on the mission. A day later Seyffardt succumbed to his injuries in hospital. Reydon and his wife. His wife died on the spot, while Reydon died on 24 August of his injuries. Kastein by Sicherheitsdienst SD agent Van der Waals, and after tracking him back through information, arrested him on 19 February.
Two days later Dr. Kastein committed suicide so as not to give away Dutch Resistance information under torture. Seyffardt and Reydon's deaths led to massive Nazi Germany reprisals in the occupied Netherlands, under Operation Silbertanne. A little more than 1, Dutch people managed to escape to England and offered themselves to their Queen Wilhelmina for service against the Germans.
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They were called the Engelandvaarders named after some who had traveled by boat across the North Sea, most of the other 1, went across land. Some figures are especially noteworthy: Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema , whose life was described in his book and made into a film and a musical Soldaat van Oranje , Peter Tazelaar and Bob or Bram van der Stok , who, after fighting air battles over the Netherlands during the initial German attack, managed to escape and who became a squadron leader in No. Van der Stok became one of only three successful escapees of 'the Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III , and the only one to succeed in returning to England to rejoin the fight as a fighter pilot.
In the Hollywood movie, this pride of place is hijacked by a gung-ho American escapee who crosses the Swiss border on a motorbike. The reality of the war was soberer: no American was involved, and only the two Norwegians and the Dutchman had the skills to escape and survive because they could speak German. For details, see the List of Allied airmen from the Great Escape.
Listening to either programme was forbidden and after about a year the Germans decided to confiscate all Dutch radio receivers. About half of all sets were taken, the rest went underground. With some listeners managing to replace their sets with homemade receivers. When they eventually did there were leaflets dropped from British planes containing instructions on building sets and directional aerials  to circumvent German jamming. The Dutch managed to set up a remarkably large underground press that led to some 1, titles.
As early as 15 May , the day after the Dutch capitulation, the Communist Party of the Netherlands CPN held a meeting to organize their underground existence and resistance against the German occupiers. It was the first resistance organization in the country. As a result, some 2, communists were to lose their lives in torture rooms, concentration camps or by firing squad.
On the same day Bernardus IJzerdraat distributed leaflets protesting against the German occupation and called on the public to resist the Germans. IJzerdraat started to build an illegal resistance organization called De Geuzen , named after a group who rebelled against Spanish occupation in the 16th century.
Its entire leadership was caught and executed in April More than seven decades after the official conclusion of World War II, filmmakers are still digesting the experience. In Memoir of War and The Captain , both recently released on home video by Music Box Films, we see radically different visions of true events that took place roughly in the same vicinity of time.
Revolving around a sterling performance by Melanie Thierry, Memoir of War grapples with a writer's guilt and grief. Thierry portrays Marguerite Duras, who grew up in Indochina before moving to France and eventually marrying Robert Antelme, a writer. They both became involved in the French Resistance during the war, and Antelme was sentenced to a concentration camp in , leaving Duras behind to worry and wonder and wallow justifiably in complex emotions that stirred great anxiety in her soul.
In his review , our own Dustin Chang wrote: "Thierry is a revelation as Marguerite, a learned, intellectual woman who slowly gets broken emotionally. She proves that she is much more than just a pretty face. The film signals the arrival of another major French star actress. Memoir of War is a great film. Chang also sat down with director Emmanuel Finkiel for a lovely interview , in which Mr. Finkiel shared his personal history, explains why Duras' book resonated for him, and more.
I enjoyed reading the interview much more after watching the film. The colors are restrained, which fits the gloomy mood, but Finkiel's compositions are exquisitely presented. The bonus features include a featurette "From Melanie to Marguerite," a conversation with the film's technicians "On Image and Sound," costume and screen tests, and deleted scenes.
It's not an easy film to watch, but Thierry's performance is well-worth seeing, while the questions about her real-life character remain piercing.