Nacht Und Nebel: Night and Mist

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Harrowing is indeed the word for what Floris Bakels experienced at the hands of the Nazis. Arrested in Holland, he became one of the forgotten Dutchman of the war, consigned to night and mist status, his whereabouts concealed from all who had known him. It is salutary to read of this precursor in Nazi Europe to the disappeared ones of modern times in other countries. Bakels was not only one of the survivors, he was one of the very few who managed to scratch out a diary on concealed scraps, and to retrieve it after the war. This account is based on those writings, and reveals not only a man at his very lowest - subject to beatings, degradation and disease and witness to brutal killings - but also one who kept faith with God and with the memory of his wife. Concentrating on those two images kept him sane in mad, hell-like conditions. His wife became angelic in his mind; God was not only a subject for reverence and contemplation but for discussion in secret meetings with believers and sceptics alike. A hidden Bible helped keep his Christianity alive even in the darkest times. The Holocaust is a subject of much discussion nowadays. Floris Bakels shows it as it truly was, in all the horror of the worst concentration camps, in which he was incarcerated, yet with a strong spirit even in the midst of despair, thanks to his firm Christian impulse.