Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Hidden Village: A Story of Survival in WW2 Holland by Imogen Matthews

 author Imogene Matthews
 published by Amsterdam Publishing
Reviewed from Kindle

This is a book that truly has a strong message
This is a book that truly has a strong message and imparts some very important safety measures, especially for the children. Depending on the reader's awareness of WWII, it is a difficult story and yet made me follow the people involved, really drew me. While I say it is a difficult story, it is even more a very well-written story that encompasses several years, several lives, and a Hidden Village. Now that is very interesting and I loved the story-line, the closeness of the village, the historic significance. I read this whole book without stopping, it grabbed me so much. Was there a real "Hidden Village"? I honestly don't know but I have suspicions of a sort. There have been signs of it. The people are the main focus, because this was the way a community came together and lived and watched out for each other, and protected the Jewish families and in many cases just the children.

Even today the world reverberates with loss and fear, lost dreams and lost family. Sometimes it seems that every generation has a war and it starts all over again. Generation after generation. But this is a story that is innovative, careful, frightened yes, but they are making plans, they are refusing to simply be victims and nor do they leave these people to what is absolute slaughter. I really found this not only an interesting read, but grew up feeling for many of the innocents and those who lost their lives. WWII is a history not forgotten.

The fascination comes mostly with how the Dutch were able to hide so many in some very small places. If indeed the Hidden Village is/was real, it operates in this book as a community living as normal as possible, while being very careful. The Village is not seen easily, thanks to the heavily wooded area surrounding it. But most people know if they go into the woods, they are not as quiet as one might think. Sometimes a twig snaps, sometimes a bird stops in mid-song. But back to the German searches through the community, did they ever find the Hidden part? When refugees are taken in to the village homes the transition is pretty smooth but the need for so many spaces increases constantly. Closets, attics, under floors, small spaces. This book is based on a village in Holland of which some signs have been found. I would say this historical fiction is closer to fact than originally thought. Those who have read Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank will remember they were hidden in this way.

There are several times that there are near misses of the villagers getting caught. Finding an English pilot once and an American pilot later, both in the woods, shows how chancy any outdoor activity is. How they managed to get the glaring white 'chutes out of the dark forest fast enough for them not to be found amazes me. But life goes on and on, and for probably years the Hidden Village was not found. My thanks to Imogene Matthews for the courage, insight, endurance, and the ability to see things that may or may not have been there and interpreted it all into a polished and fascinating piece of historic value. This is the best I have read in this genre.

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