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Friday, May 9, 2008

Hidden Letters (Deborah Slier and Ian Shine)

There is courage and strength in everyone, and sometimes, it shines best in trying times that tax heavily on people’s bodies, minds, and souls. There are wonderful displays of such great qualities and faith in stories of those who survived the Holocaust, and Philip “Flip” Slier of Hidden Letters is no exception.

Philip (a.k.a Flip) was a young Dutch Jew who was forced to a labor camp in 1942. He wrote regularly to his parents, and displayed much optimism and strength during his stay at the camp. He believed that he was one of the lucky ones, being in a labor camp instead of a concentration camp. Within Hidden Letters are all his letters which have been translated after they were found and sent to Flip’s first cousin, Deborah Slier—his letters tell of his daily happenings, thoughts, struggles, and requests for his parents to send him certain items. Readers can sense Flip’s innocent, chipper, and sweet nature through his letters which often sounded bright and hopeful, even though he was forced to work at the camp, which only made his story all the more heart wrenching!

Throughout the book there is a lot of background information, nuggets of helpful history, annotations, maps, and numerous photographs that were taken by Flip himself. Hidden Letters was both fascinating and haunting. It’s hard to believe that young teens—and Jews of all ages—were forced to bear such inhumane conditions. Flip displayed such courage, innocence, and affection even during the harsh times and conditions that were imposed on him just because of his religion! It was heartbreaking as I went along on Flip’s journey to hear his innocence and bright optimism even in times that would have—and did—crush the spirits of many. Let Flip’s letters take you on a journey that you will never forget!

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