Ida Simons

Ida Simons (Antwerp 1911-The Hague 1960) came to the Netherlands with her parents during World War I. After completing her studies in London and Paris, she performed with many leading orchestras in the Netherlands and abroad, until her career was brought to a dramatic halt by the Nazi invasion. Her health was permanently affected by two years of wartime internment in Westerbork and Theresienstadt, forcing her to abandon her ambitions as an international concert pianist altogether in the 1950s. By this time she had begun writing and debuted as a poet in 1946 with Wrange oogst (Bitter Harvest). It was followed by a collection of novellas entitled Slijk en sterren (Muck and Stars), published in 1956 under the pseudo­nym C.S. van Berchem.

A Foolish Virgin

A Foolish Virgin

(Cossee, 1959, 208 pages)

A Foolish Virgin, which first appeared in 1959, was republished this year to a rapturous reception. Reviewers compared Ida Simons’ sparkling prose to that of writers as disparate as Jane Austen, John Cheever and Anne Frank. Her novel tells the story of Gittel, a twelve-year-­old girl with a passion for the piano, who is dragged between The Hague, Antwerp and Berlin by her parents.

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