Beyond Anne Frank: Hid­den Chil­dren and Post­war Fam­i­lies in Holland

Diane L. Wolf
  • Review
By – November 7, 2011
Beyond Anne Frank chron­i­cles the wartime and post­war strug­gles of young Jew­ish chil­dren caught in the mael­strom of the Holo­caust in Hol­land. As the title indi­cates, this study faces the real­i­ty of the trauma­ti­za­tion of chil­dren in wartime in a man­ner that tran­scends the unfor­tu­nate ten­den­cy toward ide­al­iza­tion and min­i­miza­tion that has accom­pa­nied the Anne Frank diary for over forty years. This first-rate socio-his­tor­i­cal work takes the read­er into the dai­ly wartime and post­war lives of some sev­en­ty chil­dren, now mid­dle ‑aged adults, who were hid­den dur­ing the war. The author, a pro­fes­sor of soci­ol­o­gy, sen­si­tive­ly and com­pelling­ly shares these child sur­vivors’ his­to­ries and post-war efforts to rebuild their shat­tered lives. Her abil­i­ty to con­nect with her sub­jects and their will­ing­ness to share their strug­gles makes for a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the Holo­caust lit­er­a­ture as well as to the study of the psy­chol­o­gy of resilience and the dynam­ics of iden­ti­ty for­ma­tion . Her con­clud­ing chap­ters con­tain an exam­i­na­tion of the effects of per­se­cu­tion , parental loss, and sep­a­ra­tion on the psy­che of her sub­jects . In addi­tion , the author ana­lyzes the psy­cho­log­i­cal effects that dif­fer­ent liv­ing arrange­ments had upon the emo­tion­al well­be­ing of these chil­dren. The arrest­ing insights of this volume’s final chap­ters will be oft-cit­ed and uti­lized by pro­fes­sion­als from vary­ing fields. All those con­cerned with the pro­mo­tion of opti­mum child­hood men­tal health in the face of the painful chal­lenges of hatred and indif­fer­ence to children’s needs will find much of val­ue in this impor­tant new work. Glos­sary, notes, references.
Steven A. Luel, Ph.D., is asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of edu­ca­tion and psy­chol­o­gy at Touro Col­lege, New York. He is a devel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist and psy­cho­an­a­lyst in pri­vate prac­tice. He is co-edi­tor (with Paul Mar­cus) of Psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic Reflec­tions on the Holo­caust: Select­ed Essays.

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