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Selma van de Perre – My Name is Selma

Selma van de Perre – My Name is Selma

Read our sample translation of My name is Selma

 

About the book

She was seventeen when WWII broke out. Until then, being Jewish had never played a large role in her life, however it suddenly became a question of life or death. Though she was summoned to register for a work camp in 1942, she managed to evade it. She joined the resistance: under the pseudonym Margareta van der Kuit, Marga for short, she forged documents and delivered them throughout the entire country. She escaped the Nazis on multiple occasions, but in July of 1944 she was betrayed and transported via Camp Vught to Ravensbrück. Unlike her sister and parents, she survived the horrors of the camp. During that time no one knew that she was Jewish, and no one knew her real name. It was only after the war that she dared say it again: My name is Selma.

‘While I was still half visible the Aufseherin came over and she said I had to hurry up. She pulled me along outside by my arm and ordered me to follow the others to the train station. This slight delay nevertheless worked in my favour because I was pushed into the last wagon, where there still weren’t that many women seated. The other wagons were bursting and the poor women inside, including my friends from the camp, Wil, Thea and Gusta, travelled for two days in terrible conditions. In my wagon there were twelve, fourteen or so women, none of whom I knew. Many of them turned out to be prostitutes who had been imprisoned so that they could be treated for venereal diseases. They had been working in the kitchen and had managed to haul a large suitcase with bread and sausage and a drum of thick soup on board. To me that seemed a great stroke of luck; I knew the other wagons wouldn’t have these provisions. But these women didn’t seem to appreciate how fortunate they were, they began bickering about the food.’

Author

Selma van de Perre (b. 1922) was a member of the Dutch resistance organization TD Group during WWII. Shortly after the war she moved to London, where she worked for the BBC and met her future husband, the Belgian journalist Hugo van de Perre. For a number of years she also worked as foreign correspondent for a Dutch television station. In 1983 Selma van de Perre received the Dutch Resistance Commemoration Cross. She lives in London and has a son.

© Chris van Houts

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789023486381
  • Number of pages: 256
  • World rights: Thomas Rap
  • Price: €19,99
  • English sample available