The Last Secret of the Secret Annex - Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl & Jeroen De Bruyn
The extraordinary, never-before-told story of Bep Voskuijl, Anne Frank’s closest friend during the 761 days she spent in the Secret Annex.
Bep was just twenty-three when the Franks went into hiding and she risked her life to protect them, plunging into Amsterdam’s black market under the noses of German soldiers and Dutch spies to source food and medicine for the Annex. In those cramped quarters, Bep and Anne’s friendship blossomed. As this book reveals, while she was sharing meals with Anne Frank, Bep’s sister Nelly – whose name was scrubbed from Anne’s published diary – was collaborating with the Nazis.
Written by Bep’s own son, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex interweaves her story with Anne Frank’s and Nelly’s to show us the Secret Annex as we’ve never seen it before. We follow Bep after the war as she struggles to build a life in the shadow of her past, unable to get over losing Anne nor put to rest the horrifying suspicion that she had been betrayed by her own flesh and blood.
Captivating and unsettlingly suspenseful, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex is a portrait of ordinary families caught between the victims and persecutors, in which collaborators and resisters often lived under the same roof. With a moving mother-son relationship at its heart, it explores how historical trauma is inherited from one generation to the next, and how sometimes keeping a secret hurts far more than revealing a shameful truth.
‘Fascinating . . . not only conveys the quiet heroism of what his mother contributed to Anne Frank’s story, but a sad playing-out of a family’s dysfunction, of the pain of survival, of the ripples of trauma flowing into succeeding generations’ Daily Telegraph
'Gripping. I read it in one gulp—as will you’ Kati Marton, author of The Chancellor
'Superbly well-written, intimate, engrossing, and heartrending' Booklist (Starred)
'A riveting read’ Peter Hayes, author of Why? Explaining the Holocaust