The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es

An Encounter With History

The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es is a remarkable true story of Lien, a Jewish girl who was eight years old in 1942 when she went into hiding in the Netherlands. Her life intersected with the author’s as she lived with his grandparents for part of the war.

This book is a tribute to all the innocents who perished. The author lists all the family members of Lien’s who perished during the Holocaust. It makes for grim reading. May we never forget.

The reader ‘experiences’ life through the eyes of an eight year old. These memories are then put into historical context through extensive research by Bart Van Es. We then have a comprehensive narrative.

The Cut Out Girl is a heart breaking read but one of great courage. “We were not brave, but you had no choice if somebody turned up at your door.” I beg to differ I think there were extraordinary acts of bravery by ordinary citizens who put their own and their families lives on the line to help others as they hid Jewish children. The parents of the Jewish children showed tremendous courage too in handing over their children to strangers.

These traumatic war years defined a generation. Some would be plagued with fears and nightmares well into adulthood. As memories became too much, thoughts turned to suicide and some succeeded.

Not all who hid children were good. Some used the children as servants or worse.

The Cut Out Girl is a hard, emotional read. Bart Van Es pulls no punches. He tells it as it was. We need to know. We need to keep the memories of the innocents alive.

Packed with photos throughout, the reader becomes well acquainted with Lien as a girl, as a bride and as an old lady of eighty three.

Thank you Lien for your story. Thank you Bart Van Es for telling the world.

May we never forget the six million innocents who perished.

JULIA WILSON

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