Melanie Martin's Letter to her Mother

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Melanie Martin writes to her mother to explain why she decided to publish the family's story of what happened when Amsterdam was occupied by the Nazis in the second world war:

28th August 2018

Dear Mum

I’m writing to you about the book. Because I know you are in two minds about the publication of the story I thought I would write to set out what I told you the other day. I explained my reasons why the book should be published and when you thought about it, you agreed with me. So in the future if you have some doubts you can look at this letter and be reminded of those reasons.

Tootje Martin2.jpg

As you know there are still people in the world who deny that the holocaust happened. Through publishing the book we will be adding to the evidence that the Jews were indeed persecuted and over six million of them were murdered by the Germans. The Holocaust needs to be remembered and people need to be reminded that it happened. The book which is going to be called “War and Love” will bring new evidence of the Holocaust to an audience new and old.

There are some events in the story which I haven’t read in any of the history books, such as families committing suicide at IJmuiden and I think these aspects will be of interest to historians. People need to know that these things happened.

If the story isn’t published it will just disappear and all the efforts made by you Kitty and Harry in telling your stories will have been for no lasting purpose. Plus all time and effort I have made over very many years will have been fruitless if we don’t preserve it. In 100 years none of us will be here any more but the book will be. By publishing it will be in the British Library for ever. And I hope in many other places.

It’s not just for me or for the outside world, as it’s also a book for everyone in our family especially in Holland where they will all be given a copy of the book. Most of them don’t know the details of what happened to their relations in the war. It’s good for them to have a first-hand account.

I know there are aspects of the story which are uncomfortable. The passages relating to Liesje’s abduction, Nico‘s betrayal, Lizzie’s betrayal are central to the story and they really happened. All the decisions that were made were the best that could be made at the time, in very difficult circumstances. I have explained this carefully in the book. Nobody was to blame except Hitler and the Nazis. Rotmof!

It’s also a story about hope and love. The relationships which ended up lasting lifetimes wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the war. Harry wouldn’t have been with Fre. He was with Kiki and Fre was married to someone else. Kitty wouldn’t have been with Frans and you certainly wouldn’t have met Dad. Writing this letter has been useful for me to. If people ask me in future why I wanted to have this book published I can refer to this. I’ve set this out on my computer so I can be reminded again as well.

Finally, apart from having Jamie it’s the most important thing I’ve done in my whole life.

Lots of love to you and to Dad

Mel xxx