It’s not often that a historical memoir could read like a spy thriller, but that’s exactly how Things We Couldn’t Say by Diet Eman reads.
Diet (pronounced “deet”) was a young girl when the Nazis invaded The Netherlands where she lived, and she quickly got caught up the Dutch Underground resistance against their unwelcome invaders. Alongside her fiancee, her family members, and several of her friends, they worked at hiding Jews from the Gestapo. This involved all of the tricks you would thrill at in any modern-day telling of espionage, with read page-turning excitement.
Part of the interesting underlying plot in this story is Diet’s love for her fiancee Hein and both of their families. Diet and Hein were constantly changing their names and residence to keep the Gestapo from catching up with them, yet they still found time to write some amazing love letters back and forth to each other. Their love was a bright light in a very dark time, and makes their involvement in this dangerous business even more impressive.
Not only is this a story about human ingenuity, but also about God’s divine provision as well. Diet records time after time that God miraculously provided for safety and provision and favor in order to keep alive. At the end of the war, every single one of the Jews Diet and Hein helped hide and care for were still alive!
For those reasons alone Things We Couldn’t Say is a fascinating read, but it’s an important read too. In the postscript Diet talks about her reluctance to write this book because of the painful memories it would reawaken. She said, “When the war ended we all said, ‘This can never happen again.’ But now polls show that 22 percent of the U.S. population does not believe there was a Holocaust. The story has to be retold so that history does not repeat itself.”
I can’t recommend this book strongly enough for readers of any age!