My Mother's War
Evacuated from Vlissingen, driven out by the Nazi’s, in a shelter during the Battle of Arnhem and to the Dutch East Indies in the Bersiap period – the childhood of Inge was full of danger, action and strain. Yaël Vinckx tells the story of her mother, the story of a family on the run.
Yaël Vinckx’s mother had to flee four times in the first fourteen years of her life. For the first time she spoke to her daughter about the past. ‘It’s a miracle we’re still alive.’
The young Inge had to leave Vlissingen with her Indonesian mother in 1940, when the city was evacuated after the German invasion. They ended up in Scheveningen, where the Nazi’s soon declared their new home Sperrgebiet, and the expelled family was homeless again.
Without Inge’s father, a well-known naval officer who is deported to the Ukraine as a prisoner of war. Mother and daughter Inge only just survive a rain of rockets during the Battle of Arnhem in a shelter. After the war, her father suddenly shows up at the door, but the family cannot catch a break. He had to take command of the marine ship with which they had to ‘clear’ the inland waterways of the Dutch East Indies. To Inge Indonesia was a big and fearful adventure, to her mother a terrible disillusion; Indonesia didn’t seem anything like the country she grew up in.
In 2013, Yaël Vinckx and her mother travel to the places of Inge's youth. To the bombed carriage house in Arnhem, the boulevard of Vlissingen and to Scheveningen. Ultimately, Yaël Vinckx travels to Indonesia, but her mother refuses to come along. 'I have no reason to go there,' she rants on. It’s not until later the author learns why her mother still reacts this way – and why her eyes still lit up fiercely when she hears the word ‘freedom’.
‘An impressive story. Yaël Vinckx’s effort, as a daughter, to learn to know why her mother is like she is, deserves admiration.’ – Geert Mak
‘A smoothly told family story full of interesting facts and anecdotes. Inge was four years old when Germans invaded the Netherlands and thirteen when the family returned from Indonesia that had declared independency at the time.’ – NRC Handelsblad
‘Yael Vinckx writes with a fluent pen and tells the story of her mother in a fetching style.’ – Noordhollands Dagblad
‘Readers of My Mother’s War will be astonished with Yaël’s mother’s adventures. Young Inge was evacuated with her Indonesian mother from the south of the Netherlands in 1940, witnessed the Battle of Arnhem from a bomb shelter and was in the midst of the Indonesian war for independence with Holland. The more Yaël learns from the past, the more she comes to understand her unpredictable mother.’ – Margriet
‘A story drenched in history, memories told in wonderful sentences, a tribute to Yaël’s mother. My Mother’s War is a rock in the fleeting stream of war memories.’ – Piet Kaptein