The Secret Diary of Arnold Douwes
Rescue in the Occupied Netherlands
Published by: Indiana University Press
In the Netherlands, the myth that resistance to Nazi occupation was high among all sectors of the population has retained a strong hold, and yet many Dutch Jews fell victim to deportation and annihilation in the camps of Eastern Europe. How could a country that prided itself on its tolerance, adherence to legal norms, and democratic government have been the site of such an enormous tragedy? Even while Nazi arrests of Jews were taking place, Arnold Douwes, a gardener and restless adventurer, headed a clandestine network of resistance and rescue. Douwes had spent time in the United States and France and was arrested several times by the police after his return to the Netherlands in 1940. Keenly aware that he was doing something important, he started a diary in the summer of 1943. He hid some 35 small notebooks in jam jars at safe houses in the vicinity of his base in Nieuwlande (Drenthe). After the war, he dug the notebooks up and transcribed them, adding several postwar sections with scrupulous notations. Bob Moore has translated Douwes's diary into English for the first time, and he and co-editor Johannes Houwink ten Cate have added a historical and contextual introduction, annotations, and a glossary for readers who may not be familiar with Dutch technical terms or places. Organized chronologically, and remaining largely as Douwes originally wrote it, the diary sheds light on the successes—and failures—of this important Dutch rescue network.
Prologue: Mordecai Paldiel
There are great many very impressive diaries and memoirs related to World War II and the Holocaust. Few of them are written by members of the resistance, so this is a rare diary. The very detailed nature of the diary makes it a crucial source for the study of the Dutch resistance, especially in the North of the country.~Ido de Haan, editor (with Beatrice de Graaf and Brian Vick) of Securing Europe after Napoleon
The Secret Diary of Arnold Douwes provides a rare portrait of what it meant to resist day in and day out and is as close to a record of the psychology of a resister as one can get. It is an important addition to the few books about the Netherlands during the war available in English.~Dr. Megan Korman, Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies