Quotes from Things We Couldn't Say

400 pages

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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.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“But miracles still happen, even if we don't think they do.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“This pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“I felt peace, even though I was still scared to death. I thought that, whatever would happen to me - I could still be killed. I didn't know - and in what I'd already been through, God was in control.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“(Thinking while being interrogated by the Germans) You big shots think you can decide on my life, but I have news for you: you can't touch a hair on my head without the will of God my Father, because He is on my side.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



“That was one other time when my whole body reacted to the fear and went out of my own control. My nerves came apart completely, and I started vomiting and vomiting. I couldn't stop. It had been such a narrow escape. I kept telling myself that I could take all of the pressure; but there were those times that my body seemed almost to shut itself down, to scream that what was happening was just too much.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“Again, a conversation with the doctor. We always come back to the same point: "The church may not mix in politics." he says. And I tell him that when you are a Christian and profess that God is almighty, there is no single area of life from which you can eliminate God. -From the diary of Diet Eman”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“The sound of natural things was wonderful to us. In the middle of all the suffering, it seemed pure, untouched.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“To me it was real war and my life was at stake, and I believe that all those clandestine spy games we played as children helped when the Occupation came.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“I would stand there at times and remember how beautiful God created this world, and then I would be reassured that he would certainly take care of me and all of my loved ones.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



“I lay there for three whole days, totally paralyzed. My friends helped me to the bathroom and anywhere else I needed to move; but I have very vague impressions of those days because it was a time of complete darkness for me. Somebody told me later that what I had was a form of hysteria: my body and my mid fled into paralysis. There was nothing wrong with me organically, but somewhere inside I suffered a complete breakdown.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“They thought we were stupid to do it, (hide Jews) of course; in fact, it was beyond their comprehension that we would risk so much for Jews.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“Being exhausted, yet keeping up the pursuit.' (Judges 8:4) Even after what I had said of wanting out, even after that humiliation, the physical exhaustion, the deep despair I felt, those words were my new marching orders. The next morning, I swung my rucksack over my shoulders and was off again.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“Life is like a film screen: pictures come, make an impression, go, and then make a place for new pictures with new impressions which obscure the previous ones. Some of those old pictures fade, but the impressions they leave will never pass away. Such an impression is the image of Hein Sietsma -- a joyful Christian who loved life so much but was still willing to give it to the great, good, and holy cause.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“And here we see again that we do not decide our own lives. Dieneke, even if we won't see each other again on earth, we will never be sorry for what we did, that we took this stand.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



“Those women who had gone out with Germans were grabbed and treated very badly, often shaved totally bald so that everyone could see who they were. Some were taken prisoners. There had been so much suffering during the war because of the betrayal of those collaborators, so many killed and hurt because of what they had done to families, that the mood for revenge against the traitors was very high. It was not right, but it was understandable.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“I'm sorry to say it, but it was hard on me to see life continue all around.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“Yesterday the paper had a "short" summary of the places where Jews are not allowed! I can better mention where they are still aloud: "in their houses and in the streets!" God, punish those who are persecuting the people you chose and to whom Jesus also belonged. -From the diary of Diet Eman”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“And now, when Mother called to wake me up for the New Year, I first wanted to pray, but it turned into thanks, darling, for all that God had given us this year. For his wonderful ways with us, even if we don't understand it all now. For his love, that in all our disappointments and sorrow he himself helps us to bear it all, so that all this turns into a blessing because we feel his nearness and can take up our cross joyfully. And so we may know, and we do experience, that his power is made perfect in our weakness.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“By the end of the war, I could pick out Jewish people almost as if I had a sixth sense about it, even if they had blue eyes and blond hair. I would have been a very valuable Gestapo person.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



“Darling, if I think of all I miss now, I will go crazy. I should not think of that. I only want to think of all that I still have, and then I am rich. Your spirit is always around me, in your diary, our letters, all the things you got for our household. How proud we were of that! And the nearly six years! O God, I thank you for those years. If I never had met you, I would now not have all the sorrow; but I would have missed these riches -- and do these years not abundantly balance the lonely years I face without you?”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“You should not try to live without thinking and feeling, for then you are only a piece of machinery, not a human being. Even if it hurts. Even if the thing you have to think of are sad, think them through; live them through and write or tell me. Only when we completely work through our thinking and feeling do we live a full life. ~From a letter to Diet Eman from Hein Sietsma”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“There I was out in the barn playing midwife to a pregnant mare. I remember sitting there, spinning yarn in the light of a little oil lamp, a city girl who knew nothing about farming, sitting on the deel beside that mother in pain, already beginning the birthing process. All around me there was darkness and perfect silence, except for the mother's pain. It was as if the war didn't exist in those hours.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“It was always exciting, but it was also always dangerous. And fear takes a toll finally: when you live in danger from moment to moment, the constant tension becomes very wearying. Every step I took on the roads of Gelderland was nerve-wracking, because I was secretly carrying the very material that could turn out to be my own death warrant.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“I had great pity on Ansje, because she always acted very happy, but I believed that it was really a front. I could see through it. Inside she was crying because she was really very sad. You pity people like that -- the ones who try to lie to themselves -- because they suffer so much and don't face reality.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



“Her face expressed suffering so deep that I will never forget it; her eyes radiated a deep sadness...Mrs. Folmer was oppressed by that special sadness, perhaps the most horrible torture, of those who had no idea what happened to their loved ones.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“The greatest miracle was that in the end I could actually feel pity for those men because they were so deluded: they thought they had power and really they had nothing. I will never forget it. And from that moment on I've never really hated anymore. It all turned around when I sat there thinking what poor empty souls they were.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“(regarding what kind of day she would want to be released) If I had the opportunity to choose, I would want it to be a radiant sunshiny day! And I would love it to be a Saturday morning. I'd go home and take a bath and soak and shampoo and put on clean underwear and clean clothes! And then Sunday morning I want to go to church and thank Gd for freedom -- with capital letters.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“The worst fear in the hearings was that you would get some evil interrogator: you could never know what might happen then. No one who lives in a free country will ever understand that kind of fear. What is most horrifying is the realization that you have no idea what can happen, that your life is totally in the hands of someone in the chair in front of you, someone might well be a demon.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say


“It stank pretty bad, of course: manure was caked all over the wagon. But we were free. Right then I was elated with a sense of how faithful God is to his promises; I was free, and I was smiling joyfully on a manure wagon. As we ambled along, I laughed to myself when I thought of God's sense of humor in delivering us that way. Even today, the smell of manure reminds me of freedom.”
― quote from Things We Couldn't Say



Popular quotes

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“In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted’ improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.”
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At least they’re not eating us, he thought.
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And the savage spoke.
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