The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found

The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found

"An awe-inspiring account of the tragedies and triumphs within the world of the Holocaust's 'hide-away' children, and of the families who sheltered them." --Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones

The extraordinary true story of a young Jewish girl in Holland during World War II, who hides from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families, one of them the author's grandparents

Bart van Es left Holland for England many years ago, but one story from his Dutch childhood never left him. It was a mystery of sorts: a young Jewish girl named Lientje had been taken in during the war by relatives and hidden from the Nazis, handed over by her parents, who understood the danger they were in all too well. The girl had been raised by her foster family as one of their own, but then, well after the war, there was a falling out, and they were no longer in touch. What was the girl's side of the story, Bart wondered? What really happened during the war, and after?

So began an investigation that would consume Bart van Es's life, and change it. After some sleuthing, he learned that Lientje was now in her 80s and living in Amsterdam. Somewhat reluctantly, she agreed to meet him, and eventually they struck up a remarkable friendship, even a partnership. The Cut Out Girl braids together a powerful recreation of that intensely harrowing childhood story of Lientje's with the present-day account of Bart's efforts to piece that story together, including bringing some old ghosts back into the light.

It is a story rich with contradictions. There is great bravery and generosity--first Lientje's parents, giving up their beloved daughter, and then the Dutch families who face great danger from the Nazi occupation for taking Lientje and other Jewish children in. And there are more mundane sacrifices a family under brutal occupation must make to provide for even the family they already have. But tidy Holland also must face a darker truth, namely that it was more cooperative in rounding up its Jews for the Nazis than any other Western European country; that is part of Lientje's story too. Her time in hiding was made much more terrifying by the energetic efforts of the local Dutch authorities, zealous accomplices in the mission of sending every Jew, man, woman and child, East to their extermination. And Lientje was not always particularly well treated, and sometimes, Bart learned, she was very badly treated indeed.

The Cut Out Girl is an astonishment, a deeply moving reckoning with a young girl's struggle for survival during war, a story about the powerful love of foster families but also the powerful challenges, and about the ways our most painful experiences define us but also can be redefined, on a more honest level, even many years after the fact. A triumph of subtlety, decency and unflinching observation, The Cut Out Girl is a triumphant marriage of many keys of writing, ultimately blending them into an extraordinary new harmony, and a deeper truth.

Title:The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780525634614

    The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found Reviews

  • Angela M

    4.5 stars “Without families you don’t get stories.” (Lien, the girl of this title). This sounds like something we might all accept as true, but how profound this really is in relation to this bo...

  • Tammy

    The Diary of Anne Frank is the source of most of my knowledge about The Netherlands during WWII which is a narrow point of view. Sure, I knew about Operation Market Garden, the Dutch resistance and th...

  • Elyse Walters

    Library overdrive:Audiobook....read by the author: Bart van EsProblem #1.....Amazon is selling this kindle book for $14.99.I didn’t want to pay that much for it. The price ‘is’ too high IMO. My ...

  • Dem

    In the words of Maria Condo This one is not bringing me joy and I have read 50% of the book and that has taken me a week. I think it is time to part company. I struggle with giving up on a book as ...

  • abby

    Bart van Es grew up with the vague understanding that there was a girl in his family who wasn't in the family any more. No one would say who she was and why she'd left. No one spoke of her at all. Tha...

  • Laura

    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week:The story of a man's search for the truth about his family's pastThe last time Hesseline - known as Lien - saw her parents was in The Hague as she was collected at ...

  • Bettie?

    BOTWhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bd...Description: a young Jewish girl named Lientje had been taken in during the war by relatives and hidden from the Nazis, handed over by her parents, who und...

  • Stephen

    this book I found very interesting and tell the story of the authors foster aunt who was given away during the German occupation of the Netherlands and had several hiding houses. the book follows inte...

  • Bev Walkling

    Many thanks to #NetGalley and Penguin Press for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.I have always been fascinated by stories of the Second World War and as my fat...

  • Nissa

    I am a huge fan of historical fiction/non-fiction, and particularly stories that involve WWII, and so when I heard about The Cut Out Girl I was very eager to read it. And I must say, it did not disapp...