Anne Frank and After: Dutch Holocaust Literature in Historical Perspective

By Dick Van Galen Last; Rolf Wolfswinkel | Go to book overview

VI
The Paradox of Silence: Survivors and Losers

"You know, Ben," she said musing, "what amazes me most is our memory, how it works. Why you forget one thing and remember another." ( Minco, 1990:50)

Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry. (from Hitler's testament)

On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in the Führerbunker in Berlin, together with the woman he had married one day earlier, Eva Braun. On 8 May 1945, the German Army capitulated officially.

In Holland the German forces had capitulated two days earlier, although the southern part of the country had already been liberated in the autumn of 1944. The liberators, mainly Canadian, English and American troops, had been received enthusiastically by the Dutch population wherever they went. Among those Dutch people was the almost 5-year-old Jewish boy Robert Krell, who had survived in hiding for three years. His liberation carried some dark undertones with it:

Liberation was not particularly liberating, for within a few days I was 'liberated' from those I loved (...) to rejoin my father and mother who had emerged from their respective hiding places. I cried in protest, and they had to prove I was theirs with photos taken when I was aged about one and a half. Of course, I was actually the luckiest of all children in having my parents survive. Try telling that to a 5 year old with no memory of them, after nearly three years with another family. ( Gilbert, 1995:73-75)

It was a reunion that was indicative of the trouble that lay ahead. Cornelia T. had also survived the war in hiding. Her family had been deported to Sobibor. She would write later:

Came the 5th of May 1945, and at last the war was over -- my reaction on that day: why were they (the public) singing and dancing in the street. Indeed, the war was over, but I lost my entire family. I was devastated. ( Gilbert, 1995:78)

Cornelia spoke for many, although not many paid much attention during those exciting days of May 1945. A few, however, realised that the worst

-121-

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Anne Frank and After: Dutch Holocaust Literature in Historical Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Table of Contents 5
  • Acknowledgments 7
  • Introduction 'Statistics Don't Bleed' 9
  • I Dutch Jewry Before 10 May 1940 15
  • II From Aryan Declaration to Yellow Star - The Antechamber of Death 33
  • III Deportation or into Hiding 53
  • IV The Transit Camps 75
  • V The Railroad of No Return 91
  • VI The Paradox of Silence: Survivors and Losers 121
  • VII The Epilogue 147
  • Notes 155
  • Chronology 165
  • Short Biographies 167
  • Bibliography 173
  • Sources 179
  • Index 181
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