MEMOIRS


EDITH'S STORY
By Edith Velmans
Viking 1998
van Horton Books (4th edition) 2014

After the Nazis invaded Holland, Hester’s mother Edith survived the war in hiding; the rest of her family perished. Hester helped her mother turn her wartime diaries and letters into an award-winning memoir, which has been published the world over and has been translated into ten languages including German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

One of the most moving memoirs I have ever read.
– Ruth Rendell

It holds you with the same intensity as The Diary of Anne Frank and leaves you heartbroken, illuminated, and amazed at the capacity for courage.
– The Guardian (London)

Velmans’ candid portrayal of herself as a feisty, loving, sometimes self-absorbed teenager is thoroughly engaging and her story throws a new light on the plight of Jews who survived the war hidden in plain sight.
– Publishers Weekly

It’s impossible to get through this inspiring and great-hearted volume dry-eyed, or without admiration for people who so bravely persevered through unimaginable hardships and privations.” — The Washington Post

Gives all the pain and pleasure of reading Anne Frank for the first time.” — Esther Freud, The Guardian (Books of the Year)

Winner of The Jewish Quarterly’s  Wingate Award for Non-Fiction
Audio Book read by Miriam Margolyes winner of the Talkies Award for Best Biography


LONG WAY BACK TO THE RIVER KWAI: Memories of World War II
By Loet Velmans
Arcade  2003

In 1940, on the day the Nazis invaded Holland, Hester’s father Loet escaped to England by helping to hijack a coastguard boat. Loet wound up a soldier in the Dutch East Indian Army on Jakarta, was captured by the Japanese, and spent three years as a P.O.W. slave laborer on the Burma railroad. With Hester's help Loet turned his experiences into a book : Long Way Back to the River Kwai, published by Arcade in the U.S. and translated into French, Polish and Dutch.

I was moved and fascinated by this well-remembered and impeccably written memoir of what was an extraordinary period in world history. We all owe the author our gratitude for reminding us so vividly of what happens to courageous men when they find themselves on the receiving end of the cruel madness of war.”
— Simon Winchester,
author of The Atlantic, The Professor and the Madman and other best-sellers

“What makes Long Way Back to the River Kwai stand out …is an attempt to come to terms with the Japanese… This candid, understated book is a useful contribution to our understanding of an essential truth.”
— Washington Post

“An extraordinarily vivid and sensitive writer”
— Booklist

“Highly recommended and an impressive contribution to the growing library of World War II combatant memoirs”
— Midwest Book Review

NEWS

LOET VELMANS HONORED AT HAGUE ON ANNIVERSARY OF DARING ESCAPE FROM NAZIS IN 1940 


FROM P.O.W. TO C.E.O.: An after-war memoir
By Loet Velmans
van Horton Books  2015

From POW to CEO picks up Loet Velmans’s story at the end of World War II, when, as a newly liberated prisoner of war, he returned from the Far East to Europe, and shortly thereafter set out for the United States, newly married and with no immediate job prospects. That soon changed when he was hired by John Hill, the founder of Hill & Knowlton, then America’s largest and most influential PR firm. Hill, who saw something in this inexperienced young man that others in the firm did not, sent Velmans back to Europe a couple of years later to set up the firm’s first overseas office. In telling the story of his worldwide peregrinations and his eventual rise to the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hill & Knowlton, Velmans shares his unique perspective on the “culture gap” between nations and the need for U.S. business to address that gap.

It’s your basic American success story
Washington Post Book World

"The author’s personal experiences and emotions are placed in the context of worldwide events covering half a century.  Rich in depth and broad in coverage, this is a must-read autobiography for historians, students of business, and anyone with the courage to triumph over personal tragedy.”
— The Berkshire Record  

NEWS

PORTRAIT OF A WRITER: LOET VELMANS' 'FROM P.O.W. TO C.E.O' The Berkshire Edge