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In the spirit of Susan Faludi's In the Darkroom and Edmund de Waal's Hare with the Amber Eyes comes an engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of World War II, questioning our notions of victim and perpetrator and the lasting effects of war and trauma through the generations of one family. In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy l In the spirit of Susan Faludi's In the Darkroom and Edmund de Waal's Hare with the Amber Eyes comes an engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of World War II, questioning our notions of victim and perpetrator and the lasting effects of war and trauma through the generations of one family. In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy living in the Dutch East Indies. When the Japanese invaded the island he, his family, and one hundred thousand other Dutch civilians were interned in a concentration camp and forced into hard labor for three years. After the Japanese surrendered, Mieke’s father and his family were set free in a country that plunged immediately into civil war. Across the globe in the Netherlands, police carried a crying five-year-old girl out of her home at war’s end, abandoned and ostracized as a daughter of Nazi sympathizers. This was Mieke's mother. She would be left on the street in front of her sealed home as her parents were taken away and imprisoned in the same camps where the country’s Jews had recently been held. Many years later, Mieke’s parents met, got married, and moved to California, where she and her siblings were born. While her parents lived far from the events of their past, the effects of the war would continue to be felt in their daily lives and in the lives of their children. All Ships Follow Me moves from Indonesia to the Netherlands to the United States, and spans generations as Mieke recounts her parents' lives during and after the war, and travels with them in the present day to the sites of their childhood in an attempt to understand their experiences and how it formed them. All Ships Follow Me is a deeply personal, sweeping saga of the wounds of war, and the way trauma can be passed down through generations.


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In the spirit of Susan Faludi's In the Darkroom and Edmund de Waal's Hare with the Amber Eyes comes an engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of World War II, questioning our notions of victim and perpetrator and the lasting effects of war and trauma through the generations of one family. In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy l In the spirit of Susan Faludi's In the Darkroom and Edmund de Waal's Hare with the Amber Eyes comes an engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of World War II, questioning our notions of victim and perpetrator and the lasting effects of war and trauma through the generations of one family. In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy living in the Dutch East Indies. When the Japanese invaded the island he, his family, and one hundred thousand other Dutch civilians were interned in a concentration camp and forced into hard labor for three years. After the Japanese surrendered, Mieke’s father and his family were set free in a country that plunged immediately into civil war. Across the globe in the Netherlands, police carried a crying five-year-old girl out of her home at war’s end, abandoned and ostracized as a daughter of Nazi sympathizers. This was Mieke's mother. She would be left on the street in front of her sealed home as her parents were taken away and imprisoned in the same camps where the country’s Jews had recently been held. Many years later, Mieke’s parents met, got married, and moved to California, where she and her siblings were born. While her parents lived far from the events of their past, the effects of the war would continue to be felt in their daily lives and in the lives of their children. All Ships Follow Me moves from Indonesia to the Netherlands to the United States, and spans generations as Mieke recounts her parents' lives during and after the war, and travels with them in the present day to the sites of their childhood in an attempt to understand their experiences and how it formed them. All Ships Follow Me is a deeply personal, sweeping saga of the wounds of war, and the way trauma can be passed down through generations.

30 review for All Ships Follow Me: A Family Memoir of War Across Three Continents

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Mieke Eerken’s family is in the unique position of being caught in strangely opposing positions during World War II. Her father and his family were interned by the Imperial Japanese Army on the island of Java for almost the entire war. Her maternal grandparents were members of the National Socialist Party of the Netherlands. In All Ships Follow Me, Eerkens tells her family stories and shares her anxieties, concerns, and questions about her heritage as the child of a colonialist and the granddaug Mieke Eerken’s family is in the unique position of being caught in strangely opposing positions during World War II. Her father and his family were interned by the Imperial Japanese Army on the island of Java for almost the entire war. Her maternal grandparents were members of the National Socialist Party of the Netherlands. In All Ships Follow Me, Eerkens tells her family stories and shares her anxieties, concerns, and questions about her heritage as the child of a colonialist and the granddaughter of a collaborator... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna Bijas

    Finished Category #22. All Ships Follow Me by Mieke Eerkens, the granddaughter of an interned concentration camp survivor in the Dutch East Indies and a on her mother's side, a Nazi sympathizer. Compelling story about her parents, family, lives, etc. I was unaware that Japan occupied Indonesia during the war and many citizens became POW there; however, they were never granted reparations as those who suffered in Nazi camps in Europe. The writer sums it up perfectly (about war) "where do I place Finished Category #22. All Ships Follow Me by Mieke Eerkens, the granddaughter of an interned concentration camp survivor in the Dutch East Indies and a on her mother's side, a Nazi sympathizer. Compelling story about her parents, family, lives, etc. I was unaware that Japan occupied Indonesia during the war and many citizens became POW there; however, they were never granted reparations as those who suffered in Nazi camps in Europe. The writer sums it up perfectly (about war) "where do I place German soldiers hiding their enemies beneath their train seats and feeding them their own lunch? Where do I place a Korean officer dragging a piano out of hiding on Christmas and allowing his prisoners to play it? A Japanese officer crouching next to a homesick child in a prison camp and telling him that he is homesick too, and that they both need to stay strong to get through the war. Nazi sympathizers being beaten, tortured and their children left on the streets. Dutch citizens condemning the Holocause but snatching up their Jewish neighbors possessions and homes for bargain prices." This book was astounding in its detail and the ability of the author to put her family out there, the good and the bad. 5 starts. I loved it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This is a gem of a book. Eerkens tells the story of her parents experience during WW2 and the years immediately following. Her father was interned with his mother and other relatives during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies during WW2. At one point, the Japanese declared all boys over the age of 10 as men, and sent them to a new camp, meaning Eerkens father was separated from his mom as a pre-teen in a Japanese civilian internment camp. Eerkens looks to go deeper into the story - s This is a gem of a book. Eerkens tells the story of her parents experience during WW2 and the years immediately following. Her father was interned with his mother and other relatives during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies during WW2. At one point, the Japanese declared all boys over the age of 10 as men, and sent them to a new camp, meaning Eerkens father was separated from his mom as a pre-teen in a Japanese civilian internment camp. Eerkens looks to go deeper into the story - she researched and read accounts from other Dutch and Indonesian civilians during this period to help provide context and additional understanding for her dad's experience. She also took him back to Indonesia and flips between his time in the internment camp and his present day visit to the places he remembers. Eerkens could have had a pretty good, interesting book at this point, but she also chose to wade into some challenging areas - her father's experience during the Indonesian war for independence, and the complications of the Dutch as a colonial power in Indonesia. Again, Eerkens could have had a nice book, but she chose to wade into a very challenging element of her family's history in WW2 - on her mother's side, her grandfather was a member of the NSB, the Dutch political party that aligned with the Nazis. This is a challenging topic, but Eerkens wades in and seeks to be very open about her family's experience. These are complicated, challenging areas to navigate, and Eerkens does a great job walking through different aspects of it. Part of this is exploring how much her grandfather was a collaborator - and reaching the frustrating conclusion that he was neither fully a collaborator nor going through the motions, but rather a very complicated relationship with the NSB - and discussing the painful experience of her mom and grandmother as the Dutch dealt with the NSB and Nazi collaborators. In the process, Eerkens delivers a lot of insights into the WW2 experience - civilians interned in Japanese camps, the experiences of children during WW2, the post-war experience of former colonists, and the post-war experiences of children who had to grow up too fast during WW2. She also looks at how those experience not only shaped her parents and their family, but also her own generation. To top it off, Eerkens is an excellent writer who structures the book in a way that enables the reader to connect well. An excellent book that shares some insights into areas of WW2 and its aftermath that don't always see the attention they deserve.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dree

    This book is both a biography of Eerkens' parents, and a memoir about her time spent researching their lives during and after World War II. As children, each of her parents had fairly unusual experiences during and immediately after World War II. As a child she always knew there was something "wrong" with her family, and this book is the result of trying to understand her father's experiences as a POW and the actions of her maternal grandfather. Her father survived Japanese POW camps, and her mat This book is both a biography of Eerkens' parents, and a memoir about her time spent researching their lives during and after World War II. As children, each of her parents had fairly unusual experiences during and immediately after World War II. As a child she always knew there was something "wrong" with her family, and this book is the result of trying to understand her father's experiences as a POW and the actions of her maternal grandfather. Her father survived Japanese POW camps, and her maternal grandfather was jailed post-war for being an NSB party member. She looks at their experiences, reads and researches both her grandfather's trial records in the Dutch archives and the notes of other boys interned like her father. She looks at what they went through during and after the war, and sees how both of her parents' personalities reflect traits that enabled them to survive. Her father never gives up, and drives his family crazy with the tenacity that helped him survive the camps. Her mother has an inferiority complex, derived from years of being told she and her family were "fout" (a Dutch word meaning more than just "wrong"). Her parents meet, marry, and raise a family in California, their children do not fully understand the trauma their parents suffered and how it affects their adult behavior—and how it reflects in their children as well. Eerens examines this, and also looks at the attempts by Dutch colonists to get repatriations from the Japanese government, as well as the fact of having colonizers in her immediate family. She looks at the idea of "good" vs "bad" during WWII and in today's current events. She does not attempt to give an answer, as there is no one answer. There is a lot of self-reflection on her part, as she attempts to better understand and heal from the internalized guilt she carries. ——— Eerkens' father grew up in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), as did his father and possible his father and grandfather before him. When Japan invaded Indonesia, the Dutch were moved into POW camps, and as an 11-year-old her father was soon housed in a camp for older boys, away from his mother and siblings and his father. He spent years in this camp, watching other boys starve, die of illness, and suffer horrible illnesses and parasites himself. After the war, the Indonesians fought a war for their independence and the Dutch ended up back in the camps for protection, and were then evacuated. Her father was 15 when he set foot in Europe for the first time. He never felt at home there. Eerkens' mother grew up in the Netherlands, and her father (Eerkens' grandfather) was a member of the NSB, the Dutch political party that allied itself with the Nazi party after the Nazi invasion. Though he did not accept jobs or items form looted homes, nor inform on those who hid Jews or had radios, he did write some articles. Her mother was 5 at the war's end, and some of her first memories of are her father's post-war arrest as a collaborator, and then her mother's arrest and she living in the young children's ward of a Children's Home. After her mother was let go with time served, she reclaimed her children and finally found a place to raise them. Her father was jailed, and later had to work in Amsterdam and only see the family on weekends. ———— Thanks to NetGalley and Picador for providing me with an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Loved this book, learned something new about the Holocaust.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mirelle

    Very well-thought and descriptive, but I had to agree with the NPR reviewer’s sense of ambivalence about recommending this book. (https://www.npr.org/2019/04/04/709899...) Definitely thought-provoking and of particular interest to read a colonial perspective of the Indonesian revolution. However, at the end it was hard to find too much sympathy for the parents despite their traumas when cast in comparison with others’ (the acknowledged victims of colonialism and genocide) during the WWII. Very well-thought and descriptive, but I had to agree with the NPR reviewer’s sense of ambivalence about recommending this book. (https://www.npr.org/2019/04/04/709899...) Definitely thought-provoking and of particular interest to read a colonial perspective of the Indonesian revolution. However, at the end it was hard to find too much sympathy for the parents despite their traumas when cast in comparison with others’ (the acknowledged victims of colonialism and genocide) during the WWII.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    This book started really promising and she is clearly a talented writer. The book is plagued, however, by the sense that her point seems to be “white people suffer too.” I have no doubt her parents experienced trauma - but it seems she uses the story of their trauma to limit her own empathy; she argues that her family’s suffering needs to be acknowledged yet she seems convinced that other groups’ trauma are fully acknowledged and recognized - a claim I find incredibly doubtful in the United Stat This book started really promising and she is clearly a talented writer. The book is plagued, however, by the sense that her point seems to be “white people suffer too.” I have no doubt her parents experienced trauma - but it seems she uses the story of their trauma to limit her own empathy; she argues that her family’s suffering needs to be acknowledged yet she seems convinced that other groups’ trauma are fully acknowledged and recognized - a claim I find incredibly doubtful in the United States. She wants shades of gray but remains mired in her own boundaries. There’s a telling comment near the end of the book: “I find it frustrating that I must always grapple with the evils of colonialism first when writing about my father’s war experience at the hands of the Japanese. How we would be burdened when telling the stories of personal suffering of Americans if we had to preface them all with the fact that the United States is itself a product of violent oppression of the native people.” Wouldn’t grappling with that be a good thing? Wouldn’t our understandings be far richer? What if the things her family lost was never really theirs to lose in the first place? tldr she should read Gloria Wekker’s “white innocence”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nissa

    A well crafted book! A well written and compelling read with great characters and a captivating historical backdrop. Authentic and well paced as well. A highly recommended read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wan Peter

    Compelling, and well written, and full credit, strongly recommended memoir.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine H

    All Ships Follow Me is an extremely thought-provoking and worthwhile read, made all the more relevant by the parallels it draws between WWII and the rise of white nationalism and the racially charged politics we are experiencing in 2020. Having read the NPR review of this book, I vehemently disagree with the reviewer’s opinion that Mieke Eerkens’ memoir of her family’s experience during the rise of Naziism in Western Europe and the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia is somehow All Ships Follow Me is an extremely thought-provoking and worthwhile read, made all the more relevant by the parallels it draws between WWII and the rise of white nationalism and the racially charged politics we are experiencing in 2020. Having read the NPR review of this book, I vehemently disagree with the reviewer’s opinion that Mieke Eerkens’ memoir of her family’s experience during the rise of Naziism in Western Europe and the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia is somehow less valid because of the roles that colonialism and socialism played in shaping her family’s destiny. No one wants to be on the wrong side of history, but what if you are born into it? Eerkens painstakingly examines her family history in as unvarnished a way as possible. The shades of grey are always present, and they are worth our exploration and discussion. The results of Eerkens’ extensive research, coupled with her self-reflection and powerful storytelling, yield a memoir that puts the reader in the shoes of her grandparents and parents and forces us to ask ourselves what would we have done in their position? What could we have done? At a time in our when our country is split down the middle and our democracy feels increasingly fragile, it is incredibly valuable to understand how we are shaped by our history and what we can learn from it. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pietavandyke

    I picked this up because of my Dutch heritage and because I was intrigued by the subtitle of war on three continents. It’s a family memoir written by an American woman about her Dutch Indonesian father and her Dutch mom during WWII. Her father was part of the Dutch Indonesians, whose forbears had lived there for hundreds of years. He was eleven when he, his mother and sisters were taken to a Japanese concentration camp. His doctor father was in a separate camp. All his family members barely surv I picked this up because of my Dutch heritage and because I was intrigued by the subtitle of war on three continents. It’s a family memoir written by an American woman about her Dutch Indonesian father and her Dutch mom during WWII. Her father was part of the Dutch Indonesians, whose forbears had lived there for hundreds of years. He was eleven when he, his mother and sisters were taken to a Japanese concentration camp. His doctor father was in a separate camp. All his family members barely survived due to starvation but they were reunited and evacuated to the Netherlands. As a young man he managed to make his way to California to study engineering. His mother’s father was a frustrated man whose socialist ideals led him to join the NSB, a political party that allied itself to the Nazis. From the author’s research she learned that he tried to remind his membership, but NSBers collaborated with the Nazis and after the war the Dutch held them to blame. Her grandmother got separated from the father and were unable to rent or get work but found a way to survive. Both sides of the family suffered from their wartime experience, and the parents’ trauma defined their lives and that of their children. Well written and interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Poldermans

    Very moving and powerful! This is an astonishing family memoir set during the Second World War and its aftermath, in which the author takes up the courage to shed light on all facets of war. Eerkens takes us on a personal quest for identity, being incredibly honest and brave when it comes to asking herself the question where she comes from, exploring the footsteps of her parents. Important reading showing us that when it comes to war and humanity, there is no such thing as black and white, but t Very moving and powerful! This is an astonishing family memoir set during the Second World War and its aftermath, in which the author takes up the courage to shed light on all facets of war. Eerkens takes us on a personal quest for identity, being incredibly honest and brave when it comes to asking herself the question where she comes from, exploring the footsteps of her parents. Important reading showing us that when it comes to war and humanity, there is no such thing as black and white, but that there is a wide range of grey tones in between. In this light, war only knows victims, which is past on from generation to generation. This part of history and its impact is often not told or misrepresented. Eerkens definitely fills that gap by taking us on a beautiful, engaging and emotional journey.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Renate

    Zeer indrukwekkend boek over familiegeschiedenis tijdens en na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Over overleven in een Jappenkamp en overleven in NL zonder je ouders die ineens gearresteerd zijn. Twee verhalen die bij elkaar komen en die je aan het denken zetten over trauma, schuld en onschuld en hoe dat doorwerkt in kinderen. Mooi hoe persoonlijk het is geschreven. En hoe trauma in kleine dingen zit. En hoe belangrijk het is persoonlijke verhalen te horen en te delen, zodat we voorbij onze oordelen komen Zeer indrukwekkend boek over familiegeschiedenis tijdens en na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Over overleven in een Jappenkamp en overleven in NL zonder je ouders die ineens gearresteerd zijn. Twee verhalen die bij elkaar komen en die je aan het denken zetten over trauma, schuld en onschuld en hoe dat doorwerkt in kinderen. Mooi hoe persoonlijk het is geschreven. En hoe trauma in kleine dingen zit. En hoe belangrijk het is persoonlijke verhalen te horen en te delen, zodat we voorbij onze oordelen komen. Want de feiten zijn altijd complexer en genuanceerder, waardoor goed of fout irrelevant wordt. Om nog eens goed over na te denken.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beck

    I could not put All Ships Follow Me down when it arrived in my Kindle queue. It is beautifully written, handling complex, complicated topics with an emotion and depth I rarely encounter. I cried intensely, I laughed, I reflected on humanity both good and bad. At the end of the day today and with too little sleep last night from reading so long, I am left with a profound sense of compassion for others. Mieke Eerkens reminds me what a powerful art writing is, making subjects like war and trauma di I could not put All Ships Follow Me down when it arrived in my Kindle queue. It is beautifully written, handling complex, complicated topics with an emotion and depth I rarely encounter. I cried intensely, I laughed, I reflected on humanity both good and bad. At the end of the day today and with too little sleep last night from reading so long, I am left with a profound sense of compassion for others. Mieke Eerkens reminds me what a powerful art writing is, making subjects like war and trauma digestible for others through her beautiful prose. This book has held me close and I am very grateful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jill Paulson

    I really enjoyed this book! I have read a lot of WWII fiction and memoirs and never come across anything quite like this very interesting combination that highlights the two very different perspectives of Dutch citizens (the parents of the author) and the impact that their unique war experiences had on her own life and those of her siblings. It was eye-opening as I learned a great deal about elements and actualities of the war that I had no idea about before and very thought-provoking as well in I really enjoyed this book! I have read a lot of WWII fiction and memoirs and never come across anything quite like this very interesting combination that highlights the two very different perspectives of Dutch citizens (the parents of the author) and the impact that their unique war experiences had on her own life and those of her siblings. It was eye-opening as I learned a great deal about elements and actualities of the war that I had no idea about before and very thought-provoking as well in terms of societies (and my own) perceptions of the aggressors versus victims of war.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheri S.

    This book tells the story of a family impacted by WWII and the atrocities that took place during that time. It specifically focuses on two families, one from the Dutch East Indies and another from the Netherlands, before and then after marriage unites the two families. It was interesting to read the family's history because it's from a different perspective than I usually read. The author addresses how the war impacted the lives of her grandparents and parents (what they went through, decisions This book tells the story of a family impacted by WWII and the atrocities that took place during that time. It specifically focuses on two families, one from the Dutch East Indies and another from the Netherlands, before and then after marriage unites the two families. It was interesting to read the family's history because it's from a different perspective than I usually read. The author addresses how the war impacted the lives of her grandparents and parents (what they went through, decisions they made, etc.) and how this continues to have an effect on her own life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    A hard look into the role of NSB members in the Netherlands, as well as the experience of those in the camps in Indonesia. I enjoyed how she wrote the book, and also delved a bit into the psychology of her parents and their experience, and how it affected her and her siblings and those with the same experience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gundeep Singh

    So moved by this book! Beautifully written, grappling with the complex questions who is right and who is wrong. Mieke makes us wonder how and why we choose to accept the simple narratives told to us by surroundings while the deeper truth is always a lot more complex. Thanks for writing this book. Highly Recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Renee Kevern

    Interesting part of WW2 I had not read about before. Reads somewhat like a text book. I found I would skip over the paragraphs with the background and history so I could read the story. Towards the end I was skipping a lot.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is a very fast read that discusses the experiences of the author's parents during World War II. It does an excellent job explaining the impact of intergenerational trauma and maladaptive coping mechanisms. This is a very fast read that discusses the experiences of the author's parents during World War II. It does an excellent job explaining the impact of intergenerational trauma and maladaptive coping mechanisms.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What an excellent book! It is the story of the authors parents and grandparents during World War II - what they had to endure and how it affects children through generations. A whole new light on things I never gave much thought to. A good read for everyone and very well written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hpnyknits

    Really interesting and moving memoir, but definitely not as exciting and lyrical as the Hare with the Amber Eye.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sally Brandle

    An enlightening take on how WWII affected two children.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Hollingsworth

    Interesting details and perspective.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    All Ships Follow Me is a biographical account of Mieke Eerkens' grandparents' experiences during World War II. On one side, a Dutch boy in a concentration camp in the Japan-occupied Dutch East Indies. On the other side, a Dutch daughter of a Nazi-sympathizer in the German-occupied Netherlands. Both were victims of the war in different ways, and the book is Eerkens' attempt to reconcile what it means to be a victim even when the rest of the world sees you as the villain. Some of the other reviewe All Ships Follow Me is a biographical account of Mieke Eerkens' grandparents' experiences during World War II. On one side, a Dutch boy in a concentration camp in the Japan-occupied Dutch East Indies. On the other side, a Dutch daughter of a Nazi-sympathizer in the German-occupied Netherlands. Both were victims of the war in different ways, and the book is Eerkens' attempt to reconcile what it means to be a victim even when the rest of the world sees you as the villain. Some of the other reviewers have complained that the message of the book seems to be "white people suffer too" but I don't see it that way. Instead it seemed to be a reminder that war hurts everyone, that it leaves scars that reverberate through generations, and that the line between victim and villain can sometimes be extremely blurry. I especially felt this during the portion about her grandfather's time in the concentration camp in the Indies. Some of the men who guarded the camp were cruel, without question, but others seemed to be young men caught up in terrible circumstances. Were they conscripted in the army? Did they volunteer? Did they condone their superiors' actions or were they too afraid to speak up? The one Japanese guard who did treat the children kindly and tried to make the camp easier for them disappeared, which probably discouraged anyone who had similar feelings. Also, most of these men, Korean and Japanese, went from oppressors to protectors overnight when the Japanese surrendered and the Allies took the island, and they performed the second role with as much zeal as they did the first. The point is that war is complex and that very few people can be neatly fit into one category or the other. Some people can be firmly placed in one column or the other. In the Netherlands, there were people who were not members of the political party that aligned itself with the Nazis but who, nonetheless, took advantage of the situation by making money off of the property of their encamped Jewish friends and neighbors, and by taking political favors from the Germans. They weren't technically Nazis but could they be called innocent? I think not. Ultimately that's what the book was about, having to come to terms with the fact that your ancestors did some ethically questionable things. I quite enjoyed the book. I thought the writing was excellent, it was well-researched, and it raised some interesting thoughts about the gray area between victim and villain. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen Williams

    An excellent memoir about parts of history that are rarely discussed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcella Simon Vander Eems

    Everyone who thinks they understand WWII should read this. It gives viewpoints not often talked about in books about Do not miss this incredible family memoire

  28. 4 out of 5

    Burke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a beautifully written memoir that explores some very hard truths about who gets to call themselves a victim and inter-generational trauma. The author’s father was a Dutch kid living in Indonesia while it was still a Dutch colony. Her mother grew up in the Netherlands during WWII and both her parents were ultimately arrested and forced labeled as Nazi sympathizers. Much of the book is spent grappling with the fact that both her parents suffered significant trauma during the war but w This book is a beautifully written memoir that explores some very hard truths about who gets to call themselves a victim and inter-generational trauma. The author’s father was a Dutch kid living in Indonesia while it was still a Dutch colony. Her mother grew up in the Netherlands during WWII and both her parents were ultimately arrested and forced labeled as Nazi sympathizers. Much of the book is spent grappling with the fact that both her parents suffered significant trauma during the war but were in many ways denied the ability to feel that trauma because - in her father’s case, he was part of a colonizing population and in her mother’s case, because her parents were treated as sympathizers with one of the greatest evils this world had known. I really appreciated how willing the author was to share her process of and experience with wrestling with her family’s history - particularly with respect to her maternal grandparents. To cut to the chase - I don’t know many people who would admit that their grandfather was a Nazi sympathizer - let alone document their processing of that reality. This book made me think. A lot. I’m still thinking about even after finishing it - and that’s the best compliment I can give a piece of literature.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen E

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