The Secret Diary of Arnold Douwes

The Secret Diary of Arnold Douwes

Rescue in the Occupied Netherlands
Arnold Douwes, edited by Bob Moore and Johannes Houwink ten Cate
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/29/2019
Format: Hardback 21 b&w illus., 4 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-04418-1
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In the Netherlands, the myth that resistance to Nazi occupation was high among all sectors of the population has retained a strong hold, and yet many Dutch Jews fell victim to deportation and annihilation in the camps of Eastern Europe. How could a country that prided itself on its tolerance, adherence to legal norms, and democratic government have been the site of such an enormous tragedy? Even while Nazi arrests of Jews were taking place, Arnold Douwes, a gardener and restless adventurer, headed a clandestine network of resistance and rescue. Douwes had spent time in the United States and France and was arrested several times by the police after his return to the Netherlands in 1940. Keenly aware that he was doing something important, he started a diary in the summer of 1943. He hid some 35 small notebooks in jam jars at safe houses in the vicinity of his base in Nieuwlande (Drenthe). After the war, he dug the notebooks up and transcribed them, adding several postwar sections with scrupulous notations. Bob Moore has translated Douwes's diary into English for the first time, and he and co-editor Johannes Houwink ten Cate have added a historical and contextual introduction, annotations, and a glossary for readers who may not be familiar with Dutch technical terms or places. Organized chronologically, and remaining largely as Douwes originally wrote it, the diary sheds light on the successes—and failures—of this important Dutch rescue network.

Author Bio

Arnold Douwes (1906–1999) was an itinerant Dutch horticulturalist who spent time in the United States as well as his native Netherlands and ran a rescue network during the German occupation. He was designated as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1965.

Bob Moore is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. He has published extensively on the history of Western Europe in the mid-twentieth century, including Victims and Survivors: The Nazi Persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands, 1940–1945; Resistance in Western Europe; Refugees from Nazi Germany and the Liberal European States (with Frank Caestecker); and Survivors: Jewish Self-Help and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied Western Europe.

Johannes Houwink ten Cate is Professor Emeritus of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the persecution of the Jews. His many publications include an introduction (with Dan Michman) to an edition of the war diary letters of Mirjam Bolle-Levie.



There are great many very impressive diaries and memoirs related to World War II and the Holocaust. Few of them are written by members of the resistance, so this is a rare diary. The very detailed nature of the diary makes it a crucial source for the study of the Dutch resistance, especially in the North of the country.


 (Ido de Haan, editor (with Beatrice de Graaf and Brian Vick) of Securing Europe after Napoleon)

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Mordecai Paldiel

Editors' Preface


Translator's Notes

Contextual Introduction

The Diary




Biographical Sketches