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Etty Hillesun – A Life Transformed

Continuum 2009
RRP $30.95

Reviewed by Alan Renton

During more than 50 years as country minister and retired minister I have made many friends with men and women whose lives have been distorted and traumatised by dysfunctional homes, unsatisfactory child-care "homes" and abuse.
This book is a must read for those who believe that the God we know in Christ is able to transform, en-nobleise and send into ministry every one of his children.
I wish that I had had it at the beginning of my ministry, but would I have had the wisdom to understand it.
It tells of a young Dutch-Jewish girl from a dysfunctional family who through the most unlikely of God’s agents, found her faith and her ministry of compassion and understanding.
I remember reading of a great Christian minister (possibly John Wesley) who rode with criminals to the gallows, giving comfort in the way.
Etty went further than that.
When the Nazis invaded Holland they found that the Dutch registers contained the names and particulars of all Jews in the country, over 100000 all told.
This was a death sentence for just over 100,000 men, women, children and babies who were exterminated.
Some few thousand escaped by hiding. Etty could have been among them.
With her new-found faith she chose to accompany them. For the six or so months in the staging camps she ministered to them and then died with them in Auschwitz-Birkenau. There are many quotations from her diary.
It is impossible to feel her incredible story without reading this book.