So many books have been written in the past 70 years commemorating the extraordinary contribution of service men and women to the overthrow of the Nazi regime. Far fewer describe the feats of endurance of civilians in Nazi-occupied countries. The plight of the Dutch people between 1940-45 is particularly under-reported in the English-speaking world. So it is astonishing that a diary kept throughout the occupation by an Englishwoman living in Holland should have come to light. This book gives a memorable and vivid picture of a family whose lives have been completely altered. With no hope of escape they can only knuckle down and live by their wits. Claire makes us aware that her family were more privileged than most, particularly as the area they lived in did not suffer the same privations as the big cities of the Netherlands. However, the daily drudgery and constant improvisation she had to resort to for five years remind the reader of the total humiliation of living in an occupied land. It’s a good job she had a great sense of humour!
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