David Cesarani

The Drowned & the Saved

The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews

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Harvard University Press 334pp £20 order from our bookshop

Countrymen: The Untold Story of How Denmark’s Jews Escaped the Nazis

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Atlantic Books 396pp £22 order from our bookshop

In the life of Gertrude van Tijn, Bernard Wasserstein has found the perfect subject for examining the appalling options that faced Jewish leaders under Nazi rule. Van Tijn was born into a bourgeois German Jewish family in 1891. The early loss of her mother and financial ruin turned her into a strong, independent woman. She married a Jewish mining engineer and travelled widely before settling in the Netherlands. She was drawn to feminism, social work and Zionism at a time when they were unfashionable causes. In 1933 she took on relief work for German Jews escaping persecution in the Third Reich.

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