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Things We Couldn't Say
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Things We Couldn't Say

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  865 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
The true story of Diet Eman, a young Dutch woman who, with her fiance, Hein Siestma, risked everything to rescue imperiled Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 8th 1999 by Eerdmans (first published July 1994)
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Micebyliz i looked up the author to see if she is still alive because i was hoping to find out what she has has done since the book was written. There is some…morei looked up the author to see if she is still alive because i was hoping to find out what she has has done since the book was written. There is some information at then end of the book and little more online. I thought it was probably a difficult task to write her account but i'm grateful she did. My only problem was that occasionally there were continuity issues, where i was asking "what?" "who?" "huh?" not that i needed more personal information because i feel that kind of thing should be private, but just the logistics maybe could have been more clear. On the whole it was wonderful and a good read.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 30, 2016 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Pamela by: "Women Heros of World War II"
"I have been in the flames of the hell of Rotterdam. And the sun I saw through the black-gray column of smoke was changed into blood . . . One day we will have peace again. One day we won't hear the engines of warplanes any longer. One day we will again live freely, lives of happiness and love and Dutch luxury . . . "

Diet Eman, like Corrie ten Boom and Nancy Wake, was an EXTRAORDINARY woman who helped save countless Jewish lives and the lives of many alliance fighter pilots shot down over the
Apr 26, 2012 Billy rated it it was amazing
There are few books I've read that ring more meaningful than this one. I would recommend it to anyone. I happened to read it while courting my wife. My experiences at the time were thrust in start contrast with the life dealt out to Diet Eman who would sacrifice everything, lose the one she loved most, while trying to save every Jewish life that came across her path. But, she didn't do this individually, she was part of a larger underground resistance that leaves one shocked at the brazen courag ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
Heart breaking story about a Dutch resister during WWII. I hadn't read the back of the book, but should have guessed the ending. It made me cry. In the airport. At the boarding gate surrounded by strangers. Through the book you come to know Diet, her family, her friends, and her faith. After doing little things the horrors of what the Nazis are actually doing become clear and she becomes more active in her work, alongside her fiance. They begin transporting and hiding Jews in farms around the co ...more
Laurie Garcia
Jun 24, 2011 Laurie Garcia rated it it was amazing
This is such an amazing book! Diet Eman shares with the readers the story of how she and her fiance participated in the resistance by hiding Jews and performing tasks for the resistance movement. From a historical standpoint, I appreciated that she delves into how these operations worked, the danger of undertaking such work, and the toll it took on those who performed resistance work. You can really learn a lot about underground work from Eman's story. Even the details they must be aware of whil ...more
May 21, 2014 Phillip rated it it was amazing
This book was a page turner, it kept me engrossed from the first page. This is one of those historical books where you almost know what to expect, if you know the history that surrounds the personal story being told. This brave woman Diet Eman, (pronounced deet) who was a Dutch Jew in Holland, started a resistance group with her fiance and others. They hid Jews and got them fake papers, and got involved with a more organized group, and then her fiance got pick up with supplies that included stuf ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of Diet Eman, a young Christian woman who joined the Christian resistance movement in the Netherlands during WWII. Together with her fiancé, Hein Sietsma, and many other Dutch men and women, they risked their lives to save the lives of numerous Jews once the Germans occupied their beloved country. Diet and her fellow compatriots tried to stand for what was right in the midst of great evil and danger, doing so by the grace and power of God. Before the war ends, Eman, her fi ...more
Renee Reynolds
Jul 24, 2013 Renee Reynolds rated it really liked it
Undoubtedly this book would not be recommended as a vacation read, but I picked it up from my niece's bookshelf while visiting relatives this summer. As other Goodreads reviewers have mentioned, this book is both a page turner and and a critical read for understanding the horrors of the Holocaust and its impact on everyday resisters to the Nazi regime. As a Christian believer, I wanted to explore the convictions of Christian young adults who chose to involve themselves in dangerous work, underta ...more
Jun 29, 2010 Brianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Wow. This was one of the best books I've ever read. It brought me to the reality of what it was like to live in a region that experienced Nazi take over during the time preceding and during World War 2. The stories of Eman were inspiring, to hear the reality of people who opened their hearts and home to save innocent Jewish people and to read about their experiences and the consequences they had to pay, and the amazement that they (some) made it through.
Apr 04, 2009 Lynseyg4 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. I couldn't put it down. Diet Eman was a woman who worked for the Dutch underground during WWII. She relied on Christ in everything she did. There were many times where she could have been put in prision and was somehow saved. It is evident by the circumstances that she encountered that it was by the grace of God that she escaped dangerous situations. She has taught me to be strong in Christ and rely only on Him.
Ashton D
Oct 20, 2009 Ashton D rated it it was amazing
I know, another WW II survival book. This one puts all the others to shame though. Almost from the beginning you marvel at how Diet (the main character and author) kept her strength and faith through so many years of hardship and fear. It leaves you wondering if people like that still exist, and if they could do the same thing again.
Jack Ippel
Aug 31, 2009 Jack Ippel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. I used it with 8th graders during a World War Two unit.
Sep 04, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
Well, it's safe to say that I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I decided to borrow this book from my program director in Kenya. I read about half of it before I had to give it back to him so that I didn't take it across the Atlantic Ocean with me. So, I checked it out via inter-library loan in my hometown and realized how long it really had been that I knew what was going on, so I started over.

Reading so deep into the life of someone who is willing to open up to you all the detail
Mar 17, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
Other people have compared this to The Hiding Place, but to me it's much more complete, with actual journal entries and photos of things like the ration books. Diet tells her story as though she was sitting in your living room with a cup of strong coffee, reliving her experiences and relationships. It's such that I want to write to her and thank friend Denise says she's still going strong in Michigan, helping and volunteering her time. Amazing.
Jan 02, 2013 Neeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir of a young Dutch Christian woman who participated in the resistance movement and worked to hide Jews from the Germans in WWII, giving a nice perspective of how the Dutch were affected by the German invasion. The author had to go into hiding for years during the war when it was suspected that she was in the Resistance. She disguised herself as a maid, did not dare to visit her family, and was separated from her fiance when he was caught, too. She continued her work in hiding Jews ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii
Wow! Hard to put down and since it's a memoir, you know how it ends which made it both hard to finish and hard to put down. A rare combination...

A WWII memoir about this woman's involvement in the Dutch Resistance. I am enthralled by her bravery which she chalks up to being a good Christian. She has great perception (maybe only in hindsight) about the times and what was going on around her, things they didn't know or realize (how long the war would last) and people's perceptions. She resides in
Toni Miranda
Apr 05, 2016 Toni Miranda rated it liked it
I am grateful to the men and women who had the courage to share their stories of this horrible time in history. It sickens me to hear people denying that the Holocaust happened. It is stories like this that will keep the truth alive. We must NEVER FORGET!
Apr 13, 2013 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Things We Couldn't Say is an amazing, horrifying, enriching real life account of events and heroism in Holland during WWII. Diet Eman is one of so many honest, faithful Christians who rescued and saved so many from the German Armies. Her story is not hers alone, so many faithful were walking such a thin line. Her freedom is our freedom. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the names, dates, and places mentioned in this book. So I was especially thrilled at the postscript that gave me after war updates ...more
Joan Burgett
Jun 08, 2013 Joan Burgett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Things We Couldn't Say" is the story of Diet Eman and Hein Sietsma (her fiancé); "ordinary" people who risked their lives time and time again to help hide Dutch Jews. This first-hand story of the Resistance showed their courage, the chances they took, the many times that God protected them. Diet walked or biked all over Holland taking false ID & food ration cards. They loved each other deeply and were separated during the war except for a "day now and then." Each were imprisoned by the Nazi ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Tamara rated it it was amazing
A fresh perspective on the way politics can come between friends and even family and how quickly it become a matter of life or death. This woman had a strong will and courage which when she went full force to help. I met this woman in 1996 when I went on a medical mission trip. After this book, she studies nursing and lived all over the world helping people. The last time I checked, she was still alive and volunteering at a medical clinic in an inner city. She is in her nineties. For her this bo ...more
Lisa Mickey
Sep 14, 2007 Lisa Mickey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I have always been drawn to the conflict of WWII - perhaps out of a desire to understand humany behavior. How could someone be so evil (Hitler), how could people follow so blindly, how was it for those who opposed the regime and risked everything to help the persecuted. Reading this book made me feel like I was there - with every decision and every risk. I would like to hope I would have as much courage under similar conditions. But I'd also like to never have the opportunity to find out!
Jun 20, 2011 Sheri rated it liked it
This is the story of a woman who, with her friends and fiancee, became deeply involved in the Dutch Resistance movement during World War II. It's a powerful story of faith amidst the foulest of circumstances. The one thing that bothered me was that it was as if Schaap had Eman tell her story into a tape recorder, then transcribed it--it wandered a bit and felt like an old person's somewhat disorganized reminiscences. Parts of the book were better than others in that regard.
May 05, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This book is now one of my favorite historical WWII memoirs. Written as an autobiography of her life during World War II as a member of the Christian Dutch resistance, this book is engaging and challenging to read. Diet Eman is open and honest about her struggles to keep her faith strong in God during these harsh times. During one of her stays in prison, the author briefly meets Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom.
This book was very reminiscent (and for good reason!) of "The Hiding Place". In fact, Diet Eman met Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie when they were prisoners during the war. That said, Diet's story was definitely her own.
I liked how from the very first page, we got a glimpse of Diet's 'voice'. (I've read books where, unfortunately, the co-author almost takes over, making it feel like it isn't the other person's story to tell at all.) I liked how spunky she was, and how that spunkiness and
Jul 02, 2012 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is uplifting, heart-wrenching, insightful, and unbelievably amazing. I loved every part of the book and praise Diet Eman for her courage both with what she did in the resistance and for being able to write her story down. A wonderful view of life during WWII and how hard those outside of the military also fought. A book I read again and again.
Beccca Geno
Nov 24, 2014 Beccca Geno rated it it was ok
Diet Eman writes a action filled book full of captivating times and amazing adventures. The Things We Couldn't Say follows Diet and her fiance Hein through their resistance against the Germans as they attempt to save the Jews from being shipped away.
We first meat Diet living in the Huage when she meats Hein. After the Germans have started to create laws the Eman family makes their first defiance towards the Germans by listening to the radio. Throughout their journey they save many Jews but get
Excellent book. It's amazing the things people will endure to help out a fellow man. It's nice to know there are still people out there who are willing to put thier lives aside, can see the bigger picture and selflessly help mankind. The fact that it is a true story makes it that much better.
Feb 15, 2014 Lynley rated it liked it
This book was beautiful but heartbreaking. Some have said that it is similar to Corrie Ten Boom's book, and it is--in a way--but in many ways it is very different than Corrie's book. Diet was a very different sort of woman, but I enjoyed reading about the war from her perspective immensely.
Aug 22, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I give this five stars for content. This autobiography is an amazing story of a woman in the Dutch resistance during WWII. I will keep this one for my children to read later when they are teens. I want them to understand the self sacrifice that was needed to defeat evil.
Mar 07, 2013 Johanne rated it really liked it
"Inspiring true story of Diet Eman, a young Dutch woman,who with her fiance... risked everything to rescue imperiled Jews inNazi-occupied Holland during World War II... would eventually cost Diet her freedom and her fiance his life".

Good book, incredibly brave people.
Melissa Hiltbrand
Aug 16, 2011 Melissa Hiltbrand rated it liked it
Book got off to a bit of a slow start. I felt like I was listening to my grandmother wander through old stories--which likely was the intent, but it didn't "grab" me right away. The subject matter was compelling enough to keep me reading and I'm certainly glad that I did.
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Diet Eman was a young woman during the Nazi invasion of Holland during WWII. She, along with many other members of the Resistance including her fiance, worked to hide Jewish people from the Nazi's. She was arrested and imprisoned for a time. She wrote a book entitled "Things We Couldn't Say" which tells the story of her time during WWII and how her faith sustained her.
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“I had no real communication with anyone at the time, so I was totally dependent on God. And he never failed me.” 42 likes
“But miracles still happen, even if we don't think they do.” 12 likes
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