|About the Book|
The ‘brave little Dutch girl’ was Wilhelmina Harris’s sister Dicky, who rode off on her bicycle and braved the bitterly cold weather to bring back what little food could be gleaned in the dark days of hunger, which were intentionally inflicted by theMoreThe ‘brave little Dutch girl’ was Wilhelmina Harris’s sister Dicky, who rode off on her bicycle and braved the bitterly cold weather to bring back what little food could be gleaned in the dark days of hunger, which were intentionally inflicted by the occupying German forces in Holland during the Second World War.Through the eyes of Wilhelmina, the youngest daughter, we follow the lives of the van der Hoek family in Maassluis, a strategically placed town. The Dutch despised the Germans for their cruelty and arrogance, and three of her uncles who were sailors made for England to join the allied forces. Her father listened to news broadcasts from the BBC, which broadcast the Dutch Radio Oranje during the war, although all radios were strictly forbidden. This meant they could keep up with progress during the war and secretly inform others about it too.Woven within the account the author relates details of what was happening throughout Holland and the terrible persecution of the Jews. There were also the many cases of bravery where the Dutch people, particularly farmers, would hide Jews and allied pilots.The worst period was when operation Market Garden (A Bridge Too Far) failed and the people were deliberately starved by the Germans. They had no coal or wood, no electricity, water was rationed and there was no food. Thousands starved to death, and the first ever food-drops took place by the RAF and USA in 1945.This account is not sad, but in its honesty it displays the resilience of the Dutch and the way they coped with terrible hardships.