Spotlight

04-27-2014
afbeelding
Camp Westerbork

Impossible choice

The occupied Netherlands, 1943

It seemed such a clever thing to do: voluntarily enrolling in the service of the German occupiers to work at camp Westerbork – safeguarded against deportation.

He was not raised as a Jew. He does not feel Jewish. Being forced to live with only Jewish people in Westerbork changes his identity. Much to his own surprise. After all, he did not identify with being Jewish at all. The absurd situation forces new insights on him. He starts looking into the philosophy and views of Jewish thinkers and predecessors.

His job at camp Westerbork involves him in deporting others every day. Common people: men, women, and children; patients from a psychiatric ward; friends and acquaintances; family, and the girl he is in love with.

He cannot bare it. Anything but this executioner’s job. All he wants is one more week to write down his thoughts and feelings. Then he has himself deported.

Over 100,000 people were deported from Westerbork to destruction camps in Eastern Europe.

J.P. Presser, a historian, based his Night of the Girondists on his own experiences as well as on historical sources. The story poignantly illustrates how the Nazi regime presented people with dilemmas which were impossible to solve.




cover
Title:

Author:
Jacques Presser

Genre:
novel

Time:
1943

Locations:
Westerbork


Trivia: Also published as 'Breaking Point'. Originally published as ‘boekenweekgeschenk’ 1957.

 


Previous spotlight Archive

04-13-2014
afbeeldingCover of the book 'Dissolution' by C.J. Sansom.

Buy at amazon.com

England at a time of insecurity

In 1534, the English king Henry VIII abandons the Church of Rome so that he may divorce his Spanish wife and marry the English Anne Boleyn instead.
He appoints himself the head of his own Anglican Church. Everybody is forced to convert; whoever dares to refuse is sentenced to death.

Monasteries and convents throughout the whole country are dismantled and churches deprived of their relics.
In 1537, the king has just gotten rid of Anne Boleyn. She was decapitated after being accused of adultery.
The entire nation is in fear and trembling of the arbitrariness of the constantly changing new rules.
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04-06-2014
afbeeldingStatue of the boys from the book 'Java ho!' in their home town Hoorn.

The Bontekoe journal

On November 19th 1619, the galley boy on board the ‘Nieuw Hoorn’ is pulling the crew’s daily drop of brandy from the cask. When he has filled up his little vessel, he wants to pick up his candle and go back – but the candle is stuck. He has to exercise quite a bit of force to undo it, and a spark falls from the candle into the brandy, setting it on fire.

All attempts at extinguishing the fire come to an end when it reaches the stock of gunpowder. The ship is blown up into thousands of pieces with her entire crew on board.
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In Dutch / In het Nederlands

Bezoek www.historische-romans.nl voor een overzicht van Nederlandse romans.

Highest rating

Batavia’s Graveyard
Mike Dash, 2002
Bitter Herbs
Marga Minco, 1957
The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals
Michael Kernan, 1994
The Man Who Found the Missing Link
Pat Shipman, 2001
The Cloister and the Hearth
Charles Reade, 1861

Recent publications

cover recent publication
Title:

Author:
Nicolas Crane

Genre:
biography

Time:
1511-1594

Locations:
Rupelmonde, Leuven, Duisburg


Trivia: Illustrated with reproductions of paintings, maps, and globes.


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