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Wikipedia article on Etty Hillesum.

In the Wikipedia tradition, an excellent concise overview of Etty's life.

The Etty Hillesum Research Centre (EHOC) of Ghent University

Run by Klaas Smelik, the editor of the 2002 edition of Etty's unabridged writings. The center is invaluable. It connects you with people all over the world who are working on Etty. They connect you to centers, places, scholars, historians, artists. They also have a library at the center itself. They connect you with people at various stages of their research on Etty.


A note on the links for the following books. Instead of linking to a single book retailer, we link to the Wikipedia Book Sources page. This page links to catalogs of libraries, booksellers, and other book sources where you will be able to search for the book. This allows you to locate the public libraries that have the books in their collections or to get price comparisions if you prefer to purchase a copy.

An interrupted life : the diaries, 1941-1943 ; and, Letters from Westerbork. Etty Hillesum, J. G. Gaarlandt. 1996. Henry Holt. ISBN 0805050876.

For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman. In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine. -- BOOK JACKET

Etty: the letters and diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943. Etty Hillesum, K. A. D. Smelik, and Arnold Pomerans. 2002. William B. Eerdmans Publishers. ISBN 0802839592.

The unabridged collection of all known letters and diaries of Etty.

Etty Hillesum and the Flow of Presence: A Voegelinian Analysis. Meins G. S. Coetsier. 2008. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 9780826217974.

Dr Meins G.S. Coetsier is a researcher at EHOC and is devoted to helping people access Etty's life and work. Meins draws on his own scholarship and heart to help others trust their instincts in discovering and interpreting Etty's diaries and letters. It was Meins who pushed me, with his compassion and support, to face Etty's final days and understand the starkness, beauty and brutality of her life and death. He led me to the journey I needed to take to find her. His assistance, spirituality and insight live in the foundation of my play.

The years of extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945. Saul Friedländer. 2007. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060190434.

Saul Friedländer completes his major historical work on Nazi Germany and the Jews. The book describes and interprets the persecution and murder of the Jews throughout occupied Europe.

Nightmare's fairy tale: a young refugee's home fronts, 1938-1948. Gerd Korman. 2007. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299210847.

As a historian and the son of Osias Korman, Dr. Gerd Korman's moving memoir provides context to the original German refugees of Westerbork as well as a deeper understanding of the time period from a survivor of the KinderTransport's perspective.

Waiting for Death: A Diary. Philip Mechanicus, Irene R. Gibbons. 1983. Marion Boyars Publishers. ISBN 9780714506050.

Though out of print, it is worthwhile to read the diary from Westerbork, as seen through the well-known journalistic eyes of Etty's friend Philip Mechanicus.

Etty Hillesum l'amour comme "seule solution"; une herméneutique théologique au coeur du mal. Alexandra Pleshoyano. 2007. Heyendaal-Institut-Edition, ISBN 9783825808242.

I had the honor of attending Alexandra's defense of her doctoral thesis on Etty in Nimegen, Netherlands. A week later, in a small corner of a restaurant in Leuven, Belgium, Alexandra paved the way for my play by advising me to let Etty guide me to the script. A respected young scholar, Alexandra learned Dutch in order to read Etty's writing in its original form. Her insights on Etty are original and profound.


Westerbork's List - Surviving the Holocaust. Chris Chambers. 2007. Radio Netherlands.

An outstanding radio drama focusing on the weekly transport to the East from Holland, with interviews of 3 survivors of the camp. Audio downloads are available in a number of popular formats.

the Wrestling Patient. Kirk Lynn. 2009.

the Wrestling Patient is a new play by Kirk Lynn in collaboration with Anne Gottlieb and Katie Pearl. Having spent the past few years researching Hillesum's life and work as well as interviewing survivors, Anne Gottlieb brings her experience as an actress as well as a scholar to this new and exciting production. An NEA Finalist, the play features an ensemble cast, which according to Anne Gottlieb, brings to light Etty's secret history of musical evenings, therapeutic wrestling matches, black-market strawberries, and midnight prayers. The play focuses on Etty's remarkable transformation during World War II.

the Wrestling Patient has its World Premiere from 2009-March-27 to 2009-April-11 at the SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, MA, USA.

In a Thousand Sweet Arms. Julika Marijn. 2004.

Julika Maijn has been touring and performing her one woman play for the past four years. It is a moving performance in which the influence of Etty Hillesum's words is demonstrated in her own transformation. The play is offered in Dutch and in English. Julika has also recorded Etty's diaries in Dutch which are available on CD. She is available as a resource to artists and scholars studying Etty.

Steal a Pencil for Me. Michèle Ohayon. 2008 Diamond Lane Films.

The account of a love affair begun in the barracks of Westerbork that survives Bergen-Belsen and the war itself. Jaap Polak has made it his mission to speak about his experiences in order to prevent genocide. He is an invaluable resource in his willingness to meet with people, travel to schools, and provide resources.

The Thinking Heart. Martin Steingesser. 2011.

Martin Steingesser, Portland, Maine's First Poet Laureate (2007-09) has crafted a poem in two voices with cello, collaging the words from Etty's diaries and letters. Megan Grumbling of the Portland Phoenix writes, the ensemble's stirring simplicity, … make The Thinking Heart an intimate and profoundly moving meditation on how, despite everything, to love.

The Thinking Heart is performed by Martin Steingesser, Judy Tierney and cellist, Robin Jellis.

Westerbork Girl. Steffie van den Oord. 2007. Dnu Film and VPRO Television.

A film documentary presenting the story of Hannele Eisinger, the beautiful and irresistible dancer in Westerbork's Cabaret who escaped Westerbork and returned on her own. The film brings the Cabaret of Westerbork to life as well as Commandant Gemmeker, the transports and the daily life at the transit camp. The film offers excellent footage of Westerbork.


Etty Hillesum Centrum

The Etty Hillesum Centrum in Deventer, Netherlands brings Etty's Deventer background to life with its collection of Etty's books, a significant library of studies on Etty and the expertise of the founder, composer and scholar, Frits Grimmelikhuizen. Frits makes himself available to discuss Etty, Rilke, Westerbork, and Deventer with wisdom, knowledge and passion. A renaissance man, Frits is the creator of Grims Papieren Theater in Deventer.

Center for Dialog and Prayer in Auschwitz

The center provides reflection, discussion and a quiet place to retreat to in the difficult visit to Auschwitz/ Birkenau where Etty spent her final days. Dr. Manfred Deselaers is an invaluable resource, generously offering his wisdom and guidance as well as arranging the appropriate tours and setting up contacts at the Auschwitz Museum to help facilitate research.



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Modified: 2014 Jan 04