Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. Published March 25, 2014. Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic). (First published as Ondergedoken als Anne Frank in the Netherlands in 2011). Includes Foreword, Photographs of The Hidden Children Today, and a Glossary.
Survivors of World War II who, as children, were forced to leave their homes to live hidden, secret lives in various places in the Netherlands, tell their stories in “Hidden like Anne Frank.” While some were sent to live with friends or neighbors, many were hidden away with kind (and not-so-kind) strangers. All created a new identity, as instant deportation and death would be their fate if their Jewish identities were discovered.
Readers are told of the years of deprivation they suffered while hidden away including lack of privacy, hunger, the inability to attend school, living through the constant fear of being betrayed by Nazi sympathizers, and having their childhoods stolen from them. We read of their shock and sadness after liberation when they learned the fate of relatives who had been killed in concentration camps. We learn of the bravery of strangers who sacrificed their own freedoms to hide these Jewish children and other adults, while also learning of those who fought bravely in the Resistance Movement to save Jewish lives. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things stand out in the midst of tragedy, fear, prejudice, ignorance, suspicion, distrust and uncertainty.
Using first person accounts, along with period photographs and maps, Prins and Henk Steelhuis take readers through their memories, fears, hopes and dreams. While they survived, many of their parents, brothers and sisters did not leaving them with guilt that remains to this day.
“Hidden like Anne Frank” deserves a place in every middle, high school and public library so their stories, as well as the acts of kindness and bravery from members of the Resistance and total strangers striving to save some of the Jewish population of the Netherlands, will be remembered forever.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.
NOTE: I am sure “Hidden like Anne Frank” will be in the running for the 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Award. It has my vote!