Special literature

"Hidden Letters"

In the past I had already supplied information and pictures for many articles and some books with a relation to WW2 aerial propaganda leaflets. But now, I feel the urgent need to attract your attention to a great book in which I participated in providing pictures and some information.

Quote from 'Mass Murders' leaflet
Picture. Allied question asked to German people (From the January 1943 leaflet at the bottom of this page).
"Why does Adolf Hitler, after stealing everything from them, want to exterminate the Jewish people with
hunger, gas, fire and sword?".

In March 2005 I was contacted by Ian Shine with a request for a picture of a specific leaflet dropped over The Netherlands on a certain date. As Ian told me that he needed the picture for a book related to the Holocaust and the Netherlands, I was immediately prepared to help in any way I could. This contact ended with many long emails and interesting discussions. Several new ideas evolved that were incorporated in the book.

The front cover of the book
Picture. The front cover of the "Hidden Letters"
Annotated by Deborah Slier and Ian Shine.
The book was first planned to be released as early as 2005, but as it goes with large research project like this, the finished book was send to me in June 2008!

And what a great book it is!

Short content

In 1997, a Dutch demolition firm was pulling down a house in Amsterdam. They found 2 bundles of letters hidden in the ceiling. The letters were written by 18 year old Flip (Philip) Slier during 1942 from a forced labour camp to his parents. The foreman of the demolition firm took the letters home and was deeply moved by their content. He decided to hand them to the NIOD (Dutch Institute of War Documentation).

NIOD's experts, who also worked on the Diary of Anne Frank, immediately recognized the importance of the letters. It was easy to see a similarity with Anne Frank:
Young Dutch Jewish peoples lives being destroyed by Nazi ideology and anti-Jewish policies.

Several articles about the letters appeared in 'Vrij Nederland'. The author from 'Vrij Nederland', Elma Verhey, did also publish about the letters in the Netherlands. Information on that early publication in Dutch can be found HERE.

In 1999, one of the very few surviving relatives of Flip Slier, Deborah Slier did received copies of the letters. Luckily, Deborah, who was married to Ian, felt that Flips history had to be researched and written about.
After doing thorough research for over 8 years, Deborah and Ian wrote "HIDDEN LETTERS".

As I was reading the book, just like the Anne Frank Diary, it moved me very deeply ...
You can feel the tension (and fear) building up as Flip, in normal times a very optimistic boy, writes to his parents.
It really is, as István Deák (Seth Low Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University, New York), wrote in his preface:

The two authors completed precise research on life in occupied Netherlands, on the Holocaust, the revolt in Sobibor, and the history of the Slier family. The translations are excellent as are the many photographs and maps.
In brief, like the Diary of Anne Frank, this is a masterpiece.

Shorts reviews and opinions

Hidden Letters is a treasure revealed.
Philip 'Flip' Slier's loving, optimistic letters home from the Nazi labor camp in which he had been interned, lavishly accompanied by photographs, many taken by Flip himself, reveal a little-known chapter of the Holocaust in an intensely moving way.
This is a compelling, disturbing, and heartbreaking great read.
- Kathleen Baxter, columnist
School Library Journal

A unique view into the struggle and triumphs of a young man students will relate to Flip's angst as he deals with loneliness, hunger, and an uncertain future.
The book is filled with a wealth of primary sources from World War II.
- Judy Moreillon, author

Relation to propaganda leaflets

'Massenmord / Mass Murders' leaflet
Picture. Leaflet dropped over Germany in large
numbers in January and February 1943. Some quotes
from its text can be seen in the other pictures on
this page.
In two of the letters that Flip writes home to his parents, he mentions that he found leaflets:

Yesterday, we found leaflets that were dropped by Johny Englishman. Very interesting. We found lots of them.

And two days later:

It was great weather today. I found another leaflet dated Dec. 1, 1941. It is even nicer than all the others.

This account of somebody reading leaflets and giving an opinion on them is very rare. Most people did not dare to mention leaflets because reading them could be punished by the Germans.

Also several other pages of "Hidden Letters" show leaflets. A few are used to illustrate the fact that people in Germany and occupied Europe did get information on the fate of the Jews as early as October 1942. More, in depth, numbers of victims are mentioned in a dedicated RAF leaflet dropped over Germany early 1943.

Quote from 'Mass Murders' leaflet
Picture. Allies tell the German people what
happens to the Jewish people taken away.
"From all the occupied countries Jews are
being transported, in conditions of appalling
horror and brutality, to Eastern Europe. In
Poland, which has been made the principal
Nazi slaughter house, .... "

Quote from 'Mass Murders' leaflet
Picture. A horrible Nazi justification! Quote from 'Mass Murders' leaflet.
"The destruction of a foreign people is not in contradiction to the laws of life if it is completely fulfilled".
"SS Brigadeführer Dr. K.W. Best, "Zeitschrift für Politik", June 1942".

In order to prevent such horrible ideology in future, everybody should read "HIDDEN LETTERS". Furthermore, everybody interested in the Holocaust will find the book of great interest.

Book details

Star Bright Books
Annotated by Deborah Slier & Ian Shine
Translated by Marion Pritchard
Hardback with Jacket
ISBN: 978-1-887734-88-2

Sitemap / menu:

Leaflet introduction
Spreading leaflets
Example leaflets
Translations of example leaflets
Wartime opinions and law
Leaflet and poster slide shows
Leaflet campaigns Italy:
"A typical souvenir"

Top of page Back to main starting page:
Propaganda leaflets of the second World War

Mail to the pageowner!

Copyright 1996-2008, Hans Moonen, The Netherlands.
No part of these pages may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the writer/publisher.