Invisible Years: A Family’s Collected Account of Separation and Survival during the Holocaust in the Netherlands
Author: Daphne Geismar
Foreword: Robert Jan van Pelt
This is the Holocaust memoir of a Dutch family who evaded arrest and deportation by the Nazis. Told through letters, diaries, and interviews, and illustrated with photographs throughout, this detailed account brings a new perspective to one of history’s most horrific chapters.
During World War II, as the Nazis tightened their grip on the Netherlands, the Jewish population was slowly restricted from public life―everything from owning a bike to having a job was forbidden. Sensing the murderous consequences of deportation, Daphne Geismar’s family—her parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles―decided to separate and go into hiding. Parents and children were torn apart, living for years in isolation behind a church organ, below floorboards, or even in plain sight.
While timelines and notes provide context, we hear the voices of young Mirjam, who was sent by her parents to live with a family of strangers; Judith, whose braids were cut to make her look less Jewish; and Nathan, who was taken in and given false papers by a Dutch soldier. Ordinary people whose collective story is one of resilience and resistance, survival and compassion.