CHES member Martin Page is known to those interested in secularist history as the author of Britain’s Unknown Genius (1984), an account of the life of SPES Appointed Lecturer J.M.Robertson. As well as providing useful editorial notes to the text, Martin has written the Preface to Wilma’s Story, which is based on the autobiography of Wilma Hollander. It details her experiences growing up in pre-war Germany and the effects on her of its growing Nazification.
Wilma escaped Germany aged fourteen in 1939 together with her older brother Walter, younger sister Doris (who now lives in East Finchley) and her parents. They all arrived in South Africa just as Germany invaded Poland, starting the Second World War and when the Nazis began making life literally impossible for numerous categories of innocent people in their power.
Wilma and her family were granted visas to Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, possibly because they had a relative already there. Ironically, Southern Rhodesia was a very racist society, with the whites, the master race, enjoying a highly privileged existence compared to the blacks, the servant class.
Particularly informative are the accounts of visiting Germany after the war, coming across people known before the war and describing their various reactions. The memoir is well illustrated with maps and photos taken in Germany and South Africa.