Harry Mulisch was born in the town of Haarlem, the Netherlands. His father Karl Mulisch was an Austrian immigrant who had served as an officer in World War I, and his mother Alice Schwarz was herself the daughter of Austrian Jews. By the time Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands in 1940, his parents were divorced. His father worked at Lippmann-Rosenthal & Company, a repository for looted Jewish assets, where he made connections that helped save Harry and his mother from deportation and death. After the war, his father was imprisoned for three years as a German collaborator and his mother moved to the USA. Mulisch attended the Christelijk Lyceum, which he had to leave in 1944. His original career ambition was to be a scientist. In 1947, he published his first story in a weekly newspaper and five years later, published his first novel, Archibald Strohalm. He went on to produce more novels, plays, collections of essays, short stories, opera libretti, poetry, and memoirs, and covered the Eichmann trial for Dutch newspapers in 1962. He won the leading Dutch literary awards and become the country’s most admired living author. In 1971, he married Sjoerdje Woudenberg, an artist, with whom he had two daughters; in 1989, he began living with Kitty Saal, with whom he had a third child. His 1982 novel De Aanslag (The Assault) was a bestseller that was translated into 32 languages, and made into a successful Dutch film, winning the Academy Award in 1987 for Best Foreign Film. It became a standard text in Dutch schools.