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van Maarsen, Jacqueline 1929- (Jopie van Maarsen)

van Maarsen, Jacqueline 1929- (Jopie van Maarsen)

PERSONAL:

Born 1929, in Amsterdam, Holland.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Amsterdam, Holland.

CAREER:

Bookbinder and lecturer.

WRITINGS:

Anne En Jopie: Leven Met Anne Frank, Balans (Amsterdam, Holland), 1990, translation by Debra F. Onkenhout published as My Friend Anne Frank, Vantage Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Ik Heet Anne, Zei Ze, Anne Frank: Herinneringen, Cossee (Amsterdam, Holland), 2003.

De Erflaters: Herinneringen, Cossee (Amsterdam, Holland), 2004.

(With Carol Ann Lee) A Friend Called Anne: One Girl's Story of War, Peace, and a Unique Friendship with Anne Frank (children's book), Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jacqueline van Maarsen was born in 1929, in Amsterdam, Holland, to a Jewish father and a Christian mother who adopted her husband's faith as her own. As van Maarsen grew older, and Germany rebuilt itself in the wake of World War I, Europe gradually became a far more dangerous place for its Jewish citizens. Although she was raised to be Jewish, van Maarsen found herself renouncing her faith as a teenager as a means of protecting her life. Prior to that, however, she attended the Joods Lyceum, or Jewish High School, in Amsterdam, where as a young girl she became fast friends with Anne Frank in the year before the Frank family went into hiding. Only following the end of World War II did van Maarsen finally learn of her friend's ordeal. Anne had hid in a secret annex room for nearly three years when Anne's father, Otto Frank, met with van Maarsen and delivered two letters Anne had written to her friend. Prior to receiving these letters, van Maarsen had assumed that her friend had made it safely to Switzerland, as had been the plan for so many Jewish families. Van Maarsen was also allowed to read Anne's diary prior to its publication—the book in which Anne referred to her frequently as "Jopie"—gaining further insight into her friend's experiences. Later, van Maarsen went on to write of her friendship with Anne in that period during the beginning of the war, her own experiences during the war itself, and finally of her feelings upon learning of Anne Frank's death.

My Friend Anne Frank, originally published in Dutch in 1990, then in English and a number of other languages, tells a dual tale, both of a young Jewish girl who readers know well from her own diary as seen through the eyes of a peer, and of the lives of the Jewish people living in Amsterdam as the German war machine began to take over Europe and inch closer to occupying their own country. Van Maarsen discusses the way that the Nazi laws forced the separation of the Jews, isolating them from their neighbors and ultimately making it easier to come into the city and round them up for deportation. But she also talks of the way this separation also unified the people in their com- mon circumstances. Despite this unity, it was acknowledged that it was a dangerous time to be Jewish, and van Maarsen's mother took the brave step of setting out to prove her daughters were not Jewish by claiming her husband enrolled them in the faith without her approval or permission. Through sheer determination, she saved her own children from a fate similar to Anne Frank's. The book provides a poignant look at a terrible time in history, and some of its familiar cast members. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "van Maarsen's quoted recollections of her friend are refreshingly down-to-earth—she remembers Anne as lively, affectionate, even a bit vain."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Van Maarsen, Jacqueline, My Friend Anne Frank, Vantage Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Van Maarsen, Jacqueline, Ik Heet Anne, Zei Ze, Anne Frank: Herinneringen, Cossee (Amsterdam, Holland), 2003.

Van Maarsen, Jacqueline, De Erflaters: Herinneringen, Cossee (Amsterdam, Holland), 2004.

Van Maarsen, Jacqueline, and Carol Ann Lee, A Friend Called Anne: One Girl's Story of War, Peace, and a Unique Friendship with Anne Frank, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Friend Called Anne: One Girl's Story of War, Peace, and a Unique Friendship with Anne Frank, p. 1360.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2005, Hope Morrison, review of A Friend Called Anne, p. 362.

Horn Book Magazine, March 1, 2005, "Barry Denenberg: Shadow Life: A Portrait of Anne Frank and Her Family," p. 214.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of A Friend Called Anne, p. 427.

Library Media Connection, October, 2005, Susan Spaniol, review of A Friend Called Anne, p. 73.

Publishers Weekly, May 23, 2005, review of A Friend Called Anne. p. 80.

School Librarian, spring, 2005, Linda Banner, review of A Friend Called Anne.

School Library Journal, April, 2005, Rita Soltan, review of A Friend Called Anne, p. 158.

ONLINE

Anne Frank Magazine Online,http://www.annefrank.org/ (February 15, 2008), "A Friendship in Difficult Times."

Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature Web site,http://www.productiefonds.nl/ (February 15, 2008), author profile.

Kids Reads Web site,http://www.kidsreads.com/ (February 15, 2008), Carole Turner, review of A Friend Called Anne.

Sunday Herald Online,http://www.sundayherald.com/ (February 15, 2008), George Rosie, "A Dear Friend Remembered."

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