Your cart is empty.


A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience

By Carolyne Van Der Meer
Series Life Writing Hide Details
Paperback : 9781771120050, 110 pages, December 2013
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771120074, 110 pages, March 2014
Audiobook : 9781771125772, September 2022
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771120067, 110 pages, March 2014

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience by Carolyne Van Der Meer
1: Finding the Motherlode
Journal Entry–18 July 2010
Going Home
Journal Entry–19 July 2010
Letters from a War Child
The Dig
Nine Ways to Happiness in Wartime
Marijke's Song
Journal Entry–20 July 2010
Marijke's Song
The Poem About Hiding Jews
Cat Got Your Tongue?
How Do You Know?
My Education
Journal Entry–21 July 2010
The Librarian
The Hiding Place
The Hunting Game
Negotiating with the SS
Journal Entry–22 July 2010
My Mother's Voice
The Root Cellar
The Hunger Winter, 1944–45
A Conversation
The Walls Have Ears
Where We Hid Them
Journal Entry–22 July 2010
Stimpie Stampie at the New Dorrius
The Bartender
The Red Boots
Listening to the Radio
The SS Came at Night
Journal Entry–23 July 2010
Speculaas on the Prinsengracht
Journal Entry–24 July 2010
2: The Children
The War Begins
Onderduik, 1944
We All Took Part
The Risks He Took
Learning Curve
Soldier Boy
Christmas Eve 1943
The Beef Tongue
Wool Was Hard to Get
The Collection
The Walnut Tree
The American Soldier
What Lisbeth Knows
No Visible Injury
God in de hemel
The Bouquet
Liberation in Nijmegen
Institut Henri Jaspar, Brussels
3: The Survivors
Manna from Heaven
A Dutch Jew Looks at the Facts
Real Estate Value
Riches to Rags
Teaching Kindergarten
Thunder and Lightning
The Department Store
War's Insidious Bite
Altje, 1942
4: The Fighters
The Story Wasn't True
Girl in a Flowered Dress
Lotte's Journey
The Namesake
Dear Folks, Love Ralph
The Outline
Homage to a Canadian Soldier
Stationed in Veghel
The Solider Watches Retribution
Occupation Duty
Afterword: The Complexity of Belonging
Glossary of Dutch Terms


Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience is Carolyne Van Der Meer’s creative reinterpretation through short stories, poems, and essays of the experiences of her mother and other individuals who either spent their childhoods in Nazi-occupied Holland or were deeply affected by wartime in Holland. The book documents the author’s personal journey as she uncovers her mother’s past through their correspondence and discussion and through research in the Netherlands. Motherlode also considers mother–daughter relationships and the effect of wartime on motherhood.
Motherlode is not about recording precise historical data; rather, it attempts to recover and interpret the complex emotions of the individuals growing up in wartime. The book is based on interviews with the author’s mother and other Dutch Canadians, interviews with and letters from Canadian Jewish war veterans, and information provided by individuals with direct or indirect experience of the Dutch Resistance. The creative pieces explore onderduik (going into/being in hiding), life in an occupied country, the work of the Dutch Resistance, liberation, collective and individual cultural memory, and the way in which wartime childhoods shaped adulthood for these individuals.


In reading Carolyne Van Der Meer's remarkable work, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experiences, I was reminded of the intricate lace curtains found on the windows throughout Holland. In this creative reinterpretation of memories and experiences, Van Der Meer has eloquently succeeded in intertwining short stories, poems, and essays with the delicate touch of a fine Dutch lace maker. Based on the recollections of the author's mother and other Dutch Canadians, as well as letters from and interviews with Canadian soldiers and resistance fighters, Van Der Meer takes these accounts and her first-hand research to craft a compelling view of what we are left with after war's end.

- Gina Roitman, The Rover, February 23, 2014, 2014 February

A mesmerizing journey through occupied wartime Netherlands; the voices emerging from the pages are haunting: replete with powerful emotions and modernity.

- Isabelle Laflèche, author of J'adore New York and J'adore Paris, 2013 November

Content determines form, or, more precisely, the multiple forms that comprise Carolyne Van Der Meer's unique and moving new book Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experiences. Juxtaposing essays, poems, journal entries, letters, interviews, and short stories, Van Der Meer demonstrates how our life story is seldom, if ever, set in stone. Instead, it's a moving target, a kaleidoscope of the complicated ways in which we choose to remember... Motherlode is part of Wilfrid Laurier University Press's Life Writing Series. With more than 50 titles to its credit, the series aimes to ‘foreground the stories of those who may never have imagined themselves as writers.’ That said, this is a writerly book. Van Der Meer may not have started out with literary intentions, but by mixing fact and fiction, by involving a cast of peripheral characters—including other Dutch war children, participants in the Dutch Resistance, and Canadian war veterans—she gives a voice to the previously silent ‘voices of the time.’

- Joel Yanofsky, Montreal Review of Books, Spring 2014, 2014 April