Invisible Years:

A Family’s Collected Account of Separation and Survival during the Holocaust in the Netherlands

A Holocaust memoir unlike any other: first-person accounts by nine family members, separated, disguised, and desperate to survive the Nazi occupation of Holland.

In the 1930s, there were 115,000 Jews in the peaceful Netherlands, among them the De Zoete, Cohen, and Geismar families. Then, in May 1940, the Nazis came.

Through more than fifty interwoven letters, diaries, documents, photographs, and interviews, Daphne Geismar presents the story of her parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles during one of history’s most horrific chapters.

While timelines and notes provide context, we hear the voices of young Mirjam, sent by her parents to live with a family of strangers; Judith whose braids were cut to make her look less Jewish; Nathan, taken in and given false papers by a Dutch soldier. Ordinary people whose collective story is one of resilience and resistance, survival and compassion, a story that still resonates and challenges us today.


David R. Godine, Publisher is distributed to the trade by Two Rivers Distribution, an Ingram brand. For more info, click here.

Daphne Geismar is a teacher, researcher, and book designer whose clients include many of the world’s most prestigious museums. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt is a Holocaust scholar and leading authority on Auschwitz.