Book Release 4-9-2019

Diary 1944: a return ticket to the past

If you love true stories, this is a must-read. An anonymous diary found in the Dutch city of the Hague but written in 1944 somewhere in the English countryside.

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Dutch artist Carla van Beers was keen to unfold this hidden history and started an investigation in 2017. She finished in 2019 and has now released the book ‘Diary 1944, a return ticket to the past.’

Where did the diary come from, and who wrote it?

You’ll find two narratives: the historical tale of life in rural England during the Second World War; and the tale of an artist’s quest as an urban Dutch detective on the diarist’s trail.  

Curiosity is a good thing. She says:

“I found the diary in a display cabinet in a second-hand shop in the Hague and I decided to buy it. Not because the pages had been full of interesting details (quite the opposite), but because it was full of mystery. It held an account of one day in 1944 on each page. Each day starts with the weather and ends with a tally of the type of eggs laid.”

Travelling to England, she found the farm where the diary had been written. Gradually she learned more about the life of the diarist and the problems people faced in the British countryside in Kent in 1944.

“My interpretation of the diary is carried out according to the principle of a dividing line between fiction and non-fiction. The author of a novel or even the writer of a “true story” is allowed to compensate for the missing pieces by using fictional elements. For me, it feels like cheating, I must stick to the facts.”


“DIARY 1944, a return ticket to the past” is the fifth independently published book by historical research bureau “De Huisdetective” in The Hague, The Netherlands.

This book contains information from The National Archives in Kew.

English translation and cover art by Nisha Alberti:

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