Last Hope Island and Audrey Hepburn

between the lines book club logoWelcome back to Between the Lines Book Club. Our next book club book is Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson. We’ll be discussing it at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30AM on January 25, 2020. Please join us in person and/or leave comments below!

One of the people we meet in Last Hope Island is a young Audrey Hepburn. As an adult, Hepburn dedicated much of her life to international relief work, motivated by having received international aid at the end of WWII. In this article from Time Magazine, we learn more about her work with the Dutch Resistance. Here’s a sample:

 First and foremost, with the encouragement of Dr. Visser ’t Hooft, for whom she volunteered, she could dance. Audrey’s celebrity as a ballerina for nearly four years at the Arnhem city theater made her talents valuable to Dr. Visser ’t Hooft and the Resistance for illegal musical performances at various by-invitation-only locations. These events, called the zwarte avonden, or “black evenings,” had first been introduced by musicians as a way to earn money after they had been forced out of the Dutch mainstream by the Nazi union of artists, the Kultuurkamer. Soon the zwarte avonden were helping to raise funds in support of those sheltering the tens of thousands of Jews and other people in hiding across the Netherlands — including those in her hometown of Velp. They were known as black evenings because windows were blacked out or darkened so the Germans didn’t know of the activities going on inside.

“Guards were posted outside to let us know when Germans approached,” said Audrey, who reported that “the best audiences I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performance.”

Hepburn dancing in 1942

Hepburn, 1942

For more about Hepburn during the war, check out Last Hope Island as well as Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen.

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