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.

As the Nazis tightened their grip on the Netherlands’ Jewish population, Daphne Geismar’s family was slowly restricted from public life—everything from owning a bike to having a job was forbidden. Sensing the murderous consequences of deportation, they decided to separate and go into hiding. Parents and children were torn apart, living for years in isolation behind a church organ, below floorboards, or even in plain sight.

Through interwoven letters, diaries, and interviews, Geismar presents the story of nine family members—her parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—in their own words, alongside photographs and artifacts.

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.

 

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.

Robert Jan van Pelt, born in Holland, is a Holocaust scholar and leading authority on Auschwitz.