E/96: Fate Undecided

The son of a diamond merchant in Antwerp’s famous diamond exchange, Paul-Henri Rips was ten years old when the Nazis invaded Belgium in May 1940 and ended what he calls his “golden childhood” forever. Vividly told from a child’s perspective, this fascinating account explores the diverse inhabitants of Belgium and France during the Nazi occupation and the experiences of one family against the backdrop of large-scale events. Guided throughout by his father’s words of wisdom – “A klapt vargayt, a wort bestayt” (A blow will go away again, but a word lasts forever) and “Sei a mensch” (Be a decent human being) – Rips conveys his unwavering belief in the importance of holding on to one’s own humanity in the face of unfathomable inhumanity.

Introduction by Mark Webber and Naomi Azrieli

En bref
Belgique; France
Déportations et rafles
Enfant en clandestinité
Camps d’internement et de transit
Documents datant de la guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1997

160 pages

Médaille d'or décernée lors des Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards en 2009

Tranche d'âge recommandée

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Photo of Paul-Henri Rips

À propos de l'auteur

Paul-Henri Rips est né en 1929 à Anvers (Belgique). Il a quitté sa ville natale en 1950 pour s’établir d’abord au Congo belge, puis en Afrique du Sud, où il a épousé sa femme, Lily. En 1997, Paul-Henri et Lily ont immigré à Toronto pour y retrouver leurs enfants et petits-enfants. Paul-Henri Rips est décédé en 2023.

“Don’t move. Don’t open the door.” My knees had turned to jelly and I was trembling uncontrollably…. Sina grabbed her raincoat and declared, “I’m leaving. They’ll be back and I don’t want to end up in a camp.”