We recently lost an amazing woman, author and life. We first met Helmi over 6 years ago when she came to us with her draft of a book called ‘Mientje’. Needless to say, we were sold the moment we starting reading it, and since then developed a very close working relationship with Helmi. Everyone who was lucky enough to work with Helmi, here at Olympia, would look forward to speaking to her on the phone or emailing. She was a light around the offices at all times and we are all incredibly sad to have lost such a talent.
Wilhelmina Helmi Wolff was born in Holland before World War Two, the youngest of seven children. She was educated there before moving to Oxford as an au pair in 1953 where she started her career in medicine as a specialised nurse. She later fulfilled her ambition as an artist.
Her book is a story set in World War Two, in Nazi-occupied Holland, recorded by a little girl called Mientje. Mientje had a cosy life until it was disturbed badly by the invasion of the Netherlands. Her father and eldest brother were taken, forcefully, by the Gestapo to do hard labour in Germany. Her courageous, inventive and loving mother was left to keep the remaining family together. Mientje missed her father and brother and tried to write and draw letters to them, most of which never reached their destination. She could not understand the significance of the War. Mientje's schooling was fraught with difficulties, as the school was commandeered for the German soldiers. Friendships, calamities and bullying (due to her inward-growing left foot) are all as she experienced them. The joyous liberation of her hometown by the British and Canadian forces was tremendous, yet an even greater surprise was in store for them.
Our thoughts remain with her family and friends, we are all incredibly lucky to have met such an inspirational woman.
You can purchase a copy of Helmi’s book here: https://olympiapublishers.com/books/the-girl-who-saw-too-much
And see a wonderful interview with the lady herself, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pcYyaYuYOABack to Blog