Hanny Michaelis

No Spring in May & The World I Stand Outside

Wartime Diaries 1940-1945

The sharp, humorous and moving diaries of a woman in hiding

When the personal effects of one of the most important post-war Dutch poets, Hanny Michaelis, were found to include her diary from the German occupation of the Netherlands, it caused a literary sensation. Like Anne Frank, Michaelis was Jewish and forced into hiding. Inevitably, the diary is being compared with Anne Frank’s.

The large number of notebooks have been published in two annotated volumes: the first covering 1940 and 1941; the second 1942-45. In 1942 Michaelis had to take the drastic step of going into hiding. On 1 January she noted:

‘Even the fact of sleeping in my own bed, in my own room, tonight for the last time does not fill me with the sadness I’d feared.’

She was determined to remain in high spirits; despite the tears welling up when the light was turned off on her first night in her new room, she wrote: ‘I don’t feel so very unhappy.’ In the words of the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, the diary balances between ‘heights of optimism and pessimistic depths’.

Hanny Michaelis hid under a false name, working as a live-in maid in an author’s household, which gave her the ‘privilege’ of being able to read books, write, and – despite life-threatening circumstances – meet well-known writers and artists.

Michaelis was clearly more mature than the younger Anne Frank, but similarly, her diary became her most important ‘conversation partner’. She describes her youth passing and tells of her early attempts at literature and her terrible uncertainty about the fate of her parents, who had been deported to Germany. She eventually discovered that they were murdered in 1943. Michaelis survived, producing a unique testimony of a dark time.

Rarely has the oppression of the war years seemed so close.

De Volkskrant

Michaelis draws a perfect picture of the closed-off world of a person in hiding. A ‘hothouse life’, she calls it. […] With this diary she survived her imprisonment. It is a miracle, by a person who kept herself going by writing.

Hanny Michaelis

Hanny Michaelis (1922–2007) was born in Amsterdam. In 1941 she took her school leaving exams and shortly afterwards she and her parents went, separately, into hiding. They never saw each other again. Hanny’s parents were arrested in 1943 and were taken first to the camp at Westerbork and then…

lees meer


Lenteloos voorjaar & De wereld waar ik buiten sta. Oorlogsdagboek 1940-1945 (2016). Non-fiction, 1956 pages.
Copies sold: 7,000

Sample translation available

Themes: WWII


G.A. van Oorschot

Herengracht 613
NL - 1017 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 623 14 84
Fax: +31 20 625 40 83

[email protected]

lees meer

Literary agent

2 Seas Agency

1129 Maricopa Hwy, Suite 175
93023 Ojai, California
Tel: +1 805 633 0622
[email protected]

lees meer