Edith Velmans, née van Hessen, was a carefree Dutch Jewish teenager living in The Hague with her artistic and musical family when she began a diary in 1938. Even the German invasion of Holland in World War II did not immediately dampen her happy-go-lucky existence. She was preoccupied by school exams, theater productions, sailing expeditions, skating parties, and a growing interest in boys. However, by the summer of 1942 it became clear that the family was in real danger. Edith was given false identity papers and sent into hiding with a Protestant family in a small town in the south of Holland. She survived the war, and afterwards discovered that her parents and brother were dead. She studied at the University of Amsterdam and became a psychologist specializing in gerontology. In 1949, she married Loet Velmans, with whom she had three daughters. They later emigrated to the USA. Her memoir Edith's Story: The True Story of a Young Girl's Courage and Survival During World War II, based on her diaries and her parents’ letters, was published in English in 1998. In 1996, she was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.