Title: Over the Edge
Author: Paulette Mahurin
During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families.
Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.
This is one of those reads that sticks with you because it’s hard to overlook the fact that it’s based on true events. In this story, we are introduced to three Dutch citizens, members of the Dutch resistance, who put their entire lives on the line in order to save hundreds of Jewish children from facing cruel fates at the hands of the Nazis.
The three main characters were written in a way that made me want to root for them. Their situation was harrowing, and their cause was good, but the battles they were up against seemed so impossible that I couldn’t put the book down until I found out their fate. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions: victory and betrayal, hope and despair, happiness and sorrow, good and evil.