A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience
Publication Year: 2014
Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience is Carolyne Van Der Meer’s creative reinterpretation through short stories, poems, and essays of the experiences of her mother and other individuals who spent their childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland or were deeply affected by wartime in Holland. The book documents the author’s personal journey as she uncovers her mother’s past through their correspondence and discussion and through research in the Netherlands. Motherlode also considers mother–daughter relationships and the effect of wartime on motherhood.
Motherlode is not about recording precise historical data; rather, it attempts to recover and interpret the complex emotions of the individuals growing up in wartime. The book is based on interviews with the author’s mother and other Dutch Canadians, interviews with and letters from Canadian Jewish war veterans, and information provided by individuals with direct or indirect experience of the Dutch Resistance. The creative pieces explore onderduik (going into/being in hiding), life in an occupied country, the work of the Dutch Resistance, liberation, collective and individual cultural memory, and the way in which wartime childhoods shaped adulthood for these individuals.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Series: Life Writing
Title Page, Copyright Page
This collection of poems, short stories, and essays was initially inspired by stories I’d heard as a young girl about my mother’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland. But the book you now hold, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience, grew into much more as I wrote it, and now examines the Dutch experience during the occupation from myriad perspectives,...
The letter shakes between my fingers. I set it down on the counter and drop a tea bag into the cup as the kettle begins its impatient whistle. A brief flavouring of sugar and I pour the steaming water. The pages continue to beckon. It’s from my mother, and hopefully it explores another chapter of her childhood during the war....
1: Finding the Motherlode
2: The Children
3: The Survivors
4: The Fighters
Afterword: The Complexity of Belonging
In her groundbreaking book of essays about belonging, Losing North, Canadian- born novelist Nancy Huston defines the French phrase perdre le nord (“to lose the north”) as “to lose your head, to lose track,” and even “to lose your marbles.” The phrase takes some of its meaning from the geographical notion of finding “true north”—a point of reference that can help you find...